'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
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits