• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Inquest hears man died after collapsing in Florence Park

Byoxfordnewspaper

Oct 5, 2022

A drinker died after suffering a cardiac arrest in Florence Park, an inquest heard.

Omar Ali’s friend, Claire Reid, was said to have seen him in the east Oxford park on the evening of May 9.

Mr Ali, 55, told her that he was feeling dizzy and collapsed to the floor. Ms Reid ‘immediately’ called South Central Ambulance Service and a 999 call handler told her to start performing chest compressions, which she did.

Oxford Coroner’s Court heard yesterday (October 4) that a number of paramedics and police officers raced to the scene. They followed Ms Reid’s shouts for help and discovered the pair in some bushes.

It was 90 minutes until he was considered stable enough to be taken by ambulance to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Mr Ali was still in cardiac arrest when he arrived at the emergency department shortly after 10pm.

The clinicians in the resuscitation unit managed to restart his heart 20 minutes after his arrival at hospital and he was transferred to the critical care department.

Dr Andrew Chadwick, a consultant at the John Radcliffe, said Mr Ali remained critically unwell overnight.

The following morning, on May 10, he continued to show no signs of brain function, the doctor said. Tests were conducted in the afternoon and, at 4.03pm, it was confirmed that Mr Ali was brain dead.

A post-mortem conducted two weeks after his death found the primary cause of death to be hypoxic brain injury, caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. The secondary cause of death was multi-drug toxicity. The level of alcohol in his blood was found to be the equivalent of three-and-a-half times the drink drive limit. Heroin and cocaine were also found in his system.

Mr Ali’s inquest heard that he had been a long-term alcoholic and user of class A drugs.

Born in Somalia in 1967, he fled the civil war and sought asylum in the UK in 2000. He was granted indefinite leave to remain in this country the following year.

A letter from his GP at Luther Street Medical Centre detailed struggles with alcohol, heroin and cocaine going back to 2002. He also suffered with poor mental health, thought to be linked to post-traumatic stress.

At the time of his death he was living at a shared property in James Street, following a period undergoing alcohol rehabilitation. He was on the cusp of moving into his own home.

His partner, Natasha Lewis, described him as an ‘ordinary guy, kind and generous to others’. “There wasn’t a bad bone in his body,” she added. A keen cook, he ‘made sure everyone had food’.

A couple since meeting four-and-a-half years ago in Oxford, she said Mr Ali ‘never really talked’ about his experiences in Somalia.

The coroner recorded a conclusion of drug and alcohol-related death.

For support, speak to the Samaritans by calling 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward