'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
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
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

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering