Glasgow & West Scotland

Heroin choke man Andrew Aitken 'could not be saved'

A man who choked to death while trying to swallow a package of drugs could not have been saved, a sheriff has ruled after a fatal accident inquiry.

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

The FAI was told PC Gordon Young tried to revive the father-of-two, saying: "Please God, son, spit it out."

Sheriff Alistair Watson ruled PC Young did all he could and immediately summoned paramedics.

The cling-film package on which Mr Aitken choked contained 11 wrapped street deals of heroin.

At Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, Sheriff Watson praised PC Young and passer-by Jon Gilfillan, who was trained in first aid, saying the pair "worked tirelessly" until medics arrived.

The sheriff said: "The sole cause of Mr Aitken's death was his own ill-fated attempt to swallow a cling-film package of some size.

"This was sadly an instant decision taken by him without proper thought. The constable had no cause to know Mr Aitken was about to do what he did and could do nothing to prevent it.

"From the moment Mr Aitken swallowed the package there was nothing anyone involved could reasonably have done to alter the outcome."

Sheriff Watson made a formal determination that Mr Aitken died of choking, no reasonable precautions could have been made and there were no defects in any working systems which contributed to the death.

Outside court, Mr Aitken's family described a loving and hard-working family man who had suffered a series of personal problems before his death.

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