New Year’s Eve party in Toft Monks ended in tragedy, inquest heard

A New Year's Eve party ended in tragedy when a 23-year-old man died following a drunken struggle, an inquest heard today.

Lee Goldsmith died at the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston where he was taken by ambulance after the disturbance outside the White Lion pub in Mardle Road at Toft Monks, near Beccles.

An inquest into his death, held in Norwich, heard how Mr Goldsmith, who lived in Swaley Close, Beccles, had been at the pub with his parents, Audrey and Colin, for a New Year's Eve party.

At the end of the night, Mr Goldsmith had been reluctant to leave and got into a struggle with the pub's landlord Colin Worboys and an off-duty police officer, Gene Harrison, outside the venue.

The inquest heard how all three men had fallen to the floor during the struggle and Mr Harrison restrained Mr Goldsmith to calm him down. Mr Harrison then became aware that Mr Goldsmith had lost consciousness.

Attempts were made to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead at 4.45am on New Year's Day.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Mr Goldsmith had 263 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

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It also revealed how he had suffered a heart failure as a result of the excessive alcohol consumption and excessive physical activity of the struggle.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong recorded a verdict of accidental death from cardiac pulmonary arrest caused by a combination of excessive alcohol intoxication and excessive physical activity.

Summing up, Mr Armstrong said the restraint used against Mr Goldsmith had been 'reasonable, proportionate, necessary and therefore lawful'.

He added: 'This is an enormous tragedy for Lee's family. He was a much-loved son, much-loved brother and much-loved friend.'

During the inquest, it was heard how Mr Goldsmith had successfully overcome mental health issues and was moving forward with his life.

It was also heard how he was a 'very likeable person, a warm and caring young man who was always willing to help'.

Det Chief Insp Neil Luckett, who led the investigation, said: 'Norfolk police offers its deepest sympathy to the family of Lee Goldsmith.

'His death was a tragedy. Detectives from the joint Norfolk and Suffolk major investigation team carried out a detailed enquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death.

'A rigorous examination of all the facts was made and it was determined there was insufficient evidence to mount any criminal proceedings. We hope the inquest has offered the family some answers to their questions.'