East Lancs man dies after mistakenly drinking industrial toilet cleaner

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Anthony Cosgrave Anthony Cosgrave

A MAN died after accidentally drinking industrial toilet cleaner from a cola bottle, an inquest heard.

Alcoholic Anthony Cosgrave, 55, only had a few mouthfuls of the dark blue liquid but the consequences were fatal.

Describing the horrific moment he realised his friend had swallowed the deadly substance, Anthony Sharkey said: "I turned to him and I noticed blue around his mouth. He looked more grey than usual.

“I thought he had marker pen round his mouth. Then I lifted the Diet Coke bottle up and I knew what it was.

“He had about two or three capfuls.

“It was a tragic, tragic accident.”

He added: “I wished I had thrown it away now.”

The bottle of bleach belonged to Mr Sharkey who used it to clean caravans. His colleague had decanted the bleach into the cola bottle and left it in the footwell of Mr Sharkey’s van.

It had been taken from a container which only allows a small amount of liquid to be released at a time with the intention of sharing the fluid out amongst workmates, the inquest heard.

Mr Sharkey, who had known Mr Cosgrave for 40 years, said his friend was an alcoholic and would ‘drink first and ask questions last’.

Last October 12, the pair had been out driving together when Mr Sharkey stopped to buy his friend some cider.

When Mr Sharkey got out Mr Cosgrave drank from the cola bottle, not understanding the danger.

After returning to the van, Mr Sharkey realised what had happened and rushed his friend to the Rawtenstall Urgent Care Centre.

Mr Cosgrave became ‘paralytic’ and too weak to stand up. He started vomiting into an oxygen mask.

Mr Cosgrave, of Manchester Road, Haslingden, was then taken via ambulance to Royal Blackburn Hospital's intensive care unit where he died hours later on October 13 last year.

Pathologist Walid Salman, of Royal Blackburn Hospital, said the toxicity of the chemicals gave a shock to Mr Cosgrave’s heart, most likely leading to a cardiac arrest.

In a statement read to Burnley Coroner’s Court, Mr Sharkey said his friend had gone on holiday with a partner called Sheila who had then died.

Mr Cosgrave then fell ill and began to drink heavily and neglect his personal hygiene, often going ‘weeks or months without washing’, the inquest heard.

Mr Sharkey said: “If he had a cigarette and a cider, he was happy.”

Richard Taylor, senior coroner for East Lancashire, recorded a conclusion of death by misadventure.

He said: “This is a completely unforeseeable set of circumstances that have arisen here.

“Companies should give proper guidance as to how these chemicals should be stored and named.

“In this case, it appears that the person who decanted it has done for good reasons - to share it.

“Then Mr Cosgrave finished his cider and decided to have a drink.

“His heart wasn’t in great order in any event and the shock of this toxin to his heart was too much.”

Comments (9)

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7:17am Thu 3 Jul 14

BelTower says...

And the fact he was a alcoholic is relevant because..........? Poor soul RIP
And the fact he was a alcoholic is relevant because..........? Poor soul RIP BelTower
  • Score: -3

7:57am Thu 3 Jul 14

mavrick says...

The relevance of being an alcoholic shows how desperate people with an addiction can become. Sadly there are too few places where people like MR Cosgrove can be treated at, by legal detention if necessary. it is a sad sad state of affairs when a person is allowed to deteriorate so much and is not given help, It is that time in their life they are not responsible for their decisions.
The relevance of being an alcoholic shows how desperate people with an addiction can become. Sadly there are too few places where people like MR Cosgrove can be treated at, by legal detention if necessary. it is a sad sad state of affairs when a person is allowed to deteriorate so much and is not given help, It is that time in their life they are not responsible for their decisions. mavrick
  • Score: 26

9:26am Thu 3 Jul 14

BelTower says...

mavrick wrote:
The relevance of being an alcoholic shows how desperate people with an addiction can become. Sadly there are too few places where people like MR Cosgrove can be treated at, by legal detention if necessary. it is a sad sad state of affairs when a person is allowed to deteriorate so much and is not given help, It is that time in their life they are not responsible for their decisions.
Sorry, but the article states this was an accident and therefore nothing whatsoever to do with his condition.....hence not relevant.
[quote][p][bold]mavrick[/bold] wrote: The relevance of being an alcoholic shows how desperate people with an addiction can become. Sadly there are too few places where people like MR Cosgrove can be treated at, by legal detention if necessary. it is a sad sad state of affairs when a person is allowed to deteriorate so much and is not given help, It is that time in their life they are not responsible for their decisions.[/p][/quote]Sorry, but the article states this was an accident and therefore nothing whatsoever to do with his condition.....hence not relevant. BelTower
  • Score: -19

10:40am Thu 3 Jul 14

phil kernot says...

Tragic accident ,,, doe sent matter if he had a drinks problem so does half of britain ,,, the mans at peace now ,,
Tragic accident ,,, doe sent matter if he had a drinks problem so does half of britain ,,, the mans at peace now ,, phil kernot
  • Score: 15

4:18pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Mister Red says...

The point about him being an alcoholic is totally irrelevant,as he took a drink from a cola bottle.I am guessing that he thought it was cola.I cannot understand why somebody would put bleach in a cola bottle and leave it lying around,totally unmarked and with no warning.
It was an avoidable accident waiting to happen.
Commiserations to Mister Cosgrave.
The point about him being an alcoholic is totally irrelevant,as he took a drink from a cola bottle.I am guessing that he thought it was cola.I cannot understand why somebody would put bleach in a cola bottle and leave it lying around,totally unmarked and with no warning. It was an avoidable accident waiting to happen. Commiserations to Mister Cosgrave. Mister Red
  • Score: 21

4:36pm Thu 3 Jul 14

ladysal says...

Mister Red wrote:
The point about him being an alcoholic is totally irrelevant,as he took a drink from a cola bottle.I am guessing that he thought it was cola.I cannot understand why somebody would put bleach in a cola bottle and leave it lying around,totally unmarked and with no warning.
It was an avoidable accident waiting to happen.
Commiserations to Mister Cosgrave.
Yes, it was an avoidable accident. However, I disagree about the alcoholism being irrelevant. I have worked with drinking alcoholics and they will drink anything. This man was an adult who drank a dark blue liquid from a coke bottle. Last time I looked, coke wasn't blue. The point they were trying to make was that as an alcoholic, he would drink anything in the hope that it contained alcohol. Don't forget, they can and do drink anything from surgical spirit to alcohol handrub. Given that background, its not unreasonable to think that even being told that the bottle contained cleaning fluid, he would then go on and drink it in case it contained alcohol..... As such it provides a reason for why he did it.
[quote][p][bold]Mister Red[/bold] wrote: The point about him being an alcoholic is totally irrelevant,as he took a drink from a cola bottle.I am guessing that he thought it was cola.I cannot understand why somebody would put bleach in a cola bottle and leave it lying around,totally unmarked and with no warning. It was an avoidable accident waiting to happen. Commiserations to Mister Cosgrave.[/p][/quote]Yes, it was an avoidable accident. However, I disagree about the alcoholism being irrelevant. I have worked with drinking alcoholics and they will drink anything. This man was an adult who drank a dark blue liquid from a coke bottle. Last time I looked, coke wasn't blue. The point they were trying to make was that as an alcoholic, he would drink anything in the hope that it contained alcohol. Don't forget, they can and do drink anything from surgical spirit to alcohol handrub. Given that background, its not unreasonable to think that even being told that the bottle contained cleaning fluid, he would then go on and drink it in case it contained alcohol..... As such it provides a reason for why he did it. ladysal
  • Score: 26

4:38pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Owd Akela says...

I have the same chemical for my porta potti. It is decanted into a small bottle but is clearly labelled "loo chemic", if only to stop my husband using it on the plastic bath.
I have the same chemical for my porta potti. It is decanted into a small bottle but is clearly labelled "loo chemic", if only to stop my husband using it on the plastic bath. Owd Akela
  • Score: 5

5:29pm Sat 5 Jul 14

Thelma 15 says...

Tragic z round.
Tragic z round. Thelma 15
  • Score: 1

8:05pm Sat 19 Jul 14

hairy mary says...

I once put my feet in drain cleaner I couldnt walk for a week
I once put my feet in drain cleaner I couldnt walk for a week hairy mary
  • Score: 0
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