Pentlow: Well-known Suffolk trader died from asphyxia

A BUSINESSMAN who was the son of a town councillor and the stepson of a deputy mayor died after engaging in an “experimental and risky” practice, an inquest has heard.

Michael Ford, a wine merchant who owned Dragon Drinks in Pentlow, near Sudbury, was discovered dead on a bed at his home in Blackhouse Lane, Little Cornard, on August 5 this year.

Mr Ford, who was 30, lived at the property with his mother Lesley Ford-Platt, a Sudbury town councillor, and stepfather Tony Platt, Sudbury’s deputy town mayor.

They were away on a cruise at the time of the incident.

Kevin McCarthy, assistant deputy coroner for Greater Suffolk, recorded a verdict of accidental death at an inquest in Bury St Edmunds yesterday.

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At the inquest Mr McCarthy said the medical cause of death was asphyxia.

He added that the circumstances in which the death occurred was that Mr Ford had been engaged in a practice which was “both experimental and risky.”

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The inquest heard that at about noon on August 5 farmer Adrian John Webb, a friend and neighbour of Mr Ford’s, grew concerned that he had not seen him.

Mr Webb was particularly concerned as Mr Ford had not opened a shop he owned and ran.

At about 5.15pm Mr Webb spoke to Mr Ford’s father, Trevor, and, after they failed to make contact with him Mr Webb, called the police at about 8.15pm.

The inquest heard that a police officer attended Mr Ford’s address. Mr Ford’s vehicles were outside and pets were running about the house.

There was no answer, so entry was gained by smashing a window.

Mr McCarthy said: “Suffice it to say when he entered one of the bedrooms at that property he found Mr Ford on the bed and ascertained he was dead.”

The inquest heard that a letter written by a doctor at the Siam Surgery in Sudbury, where Mr Ford was a patient, said Mr Ford had no history of depression or substance misuse and he had not been receiving any prescribed medication.

The time of death was recorded as some time before 8.30pm on August 5.

Mr McCarthy passed on the court’s condolences and best wishes to Mr Ford’s mother and stepfather who attended the inquest.

Speaking after the incident, Mrs Ford-Platt said the death of her “wonderful” son had devastated the family.

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