'Burglar' suffocated to death after becoming trapped in chimney of Derby solicitor's office

The body of Kevin Gough, 43, was found in the chimney stack of Moody & Woolley Solicitors

A suspected burglar found dead in the chimney of a Derby solicitor's office suffocated to death in "very tragic circumstances", a coroner has said today.

The body of Kevin Gough, 43, was found in the chimney stack of Moody & Woolley Solicitors in St Mary's Gate, Derby, on May 1.

Staff at the firm had reported a bad smell and a pest control company had been contacted. Builders subsequently made the grim discovery while carrying out repairs at the terraced property and police were called.

Officers gained access inside the law firm and found Mr Gough's badly decomposed body stuck inside the chimney. The chimney breast and fireplace had been completely bricked up from the inside.

Mr Gough, who was wanted in connection with a burglary elsewhere in Derby, was identified by fingerprints. The coroner said cause of death was found to be postural asphyxiation.

He had brick marks across his back and chest due to the confined space he had come to rest in, which would not allow his chest to expand and would have affected his ability to breathe.

The inquest also heard that there was a lack of air in the chimney as it it had been completely sealed up at the bottom.

When found Mr Gough's t-shirt had drawn up around his neck in the tightness of the space and had also constricted his airway, the coroner said.

The coroner Dr Robert Hunter told Mr Gough's mother, who was at the inquest with other family members, that her son would have passed out quickly.

"There would have been a rapid loss of consciousness," he said, "and death within a manner of minutes.

"This would be why he did not call for help and the people working within the building had not heard him."

It is not clear why Mr Gough had gone into the chimney but coroner Dr Hunter said he was satisfied he had made his way in there of his own volition and nobody else had been involved.

Mr Gough had also previously been arrested in March after being found in possession of prescribed medication that was not in his own name.

Methadone was found in his liver but was in insufficient quantities to have caused his death. The coroner recorded a conclusion of misadventure.

He had gone to that premises and had entered that chimney," the coroner said.

"What he would not know is that the chimney had been blocked up."

Dr Hunter said Mr Gough would likely have realised there was no way out when he got to the bottom and he had got stuck.

He told the family that the pathologist who carried out the post mortem was keen to emphasise that he would have quickly lost consciousness and would not have been calling for help for a long period of time.

Mr Hunter said: "His death would have been very, very quick.

"He would not have lingered in the chimney for two or three days.

"It's a little bit of comfort, not a great comfort, I'm sure you'd prefer to have him alive and well."

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£350 p/d (Contract): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP /...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Social Researcher

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Controller

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Head Porter / Concierge

£16000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks