Glasgow & West Scotland

Man 'choked to death' on heroin package in Irvine

A man choked to death trying to swallow a package of drugs as a policeman fought to save him, a court has heard.

Andrew Aitken, 41, collapsed in the street in front of passers-by in Irvine, Ayrshire, in August 2010.

The fatal accident inquiry was told the officer slapped his back, saying: "Please God, son, spit it out."

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard the father-of-two was taken to hospital after the heroin lodged in his throat but could not be revived.

Thomas Murray, 46, was in a betting shop in Irvine when he heard a disturbance outside.

'Spit it out'

Mr Murray told the court: "I was putting on a line when I heard something going on so I went out and saw a man lying on the ground with a policeman over him.

"It wasn't a nice thing to see. The guy was choking while the policeman was banging his back saying, 'Spit it out, spit it out'.

"I saw the policeman trying to resuscitate him while he was shouting for help over his radio. I think he had gloves on and a plastic object."

Isabel Walker, 73, was shopping when she saw a police officer "struggling with a young man" in Purdie's Close in Irvine town centre.

She told the inquiry: "I heard the policeman saying, 'Please God, son, spit it out, spit it out, spit it out'.

"The policeman had the young man over his knee and was clapping his back. It was the way you would act if you had a child choking.

"He was shouting on his radio for assistance and begging the young man to spit out whatever it was he had."

The inquiry continues.