A cyclist found lying in the road alongside his electric bike had three times the drink-drive limit of alcohol, an inquest has been told.
Self-employed joiner Paul Mark Jones, 54, suffered “devastating” head injuries as he made his way home after spending the night at the Crown Inn in Pantymwyn, near Mold.
The father-of-two was found by taxi driver Sean Toner in Bwlch-y-Ddeufryn Road, Gwernaffield, at about 11.30pm on November 21 last year.
His passenger, James Rees, administered first-aid and Mr Jones was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital. He was then transferred to the Royal Stoke University Hospital, but died five days later.
In a statement read at the Ruthin inquest by John Gittins, coroner for North Wales East and Central, Mr Jones’ ex-wife Jeanette Northall-Jones described him as a “workaholic and perfectionist” who was proud to have recently become a grandfather.
She said he had bought the electric bike in January of last year but had not adapted it, so that its maximum speed was 15mph.
Mrs Northall-Jones said he always a helmet for longer rides but not always to visit the pub, which he often did after work.
Sasha White, licensee of the Crown, said that Mr Jones, of Cilcain Road, Gwernaffield, spent longer than usual in the pub that night, having arrived at 7.30pm, but she wasn’t sure how much he had to drink. In addition to his usual Guinness he also had a gin before leaving, which was unusual.
Ms White suggested he might leave his bike there overnight, but he replied “I’ll be fine.”
Police investigations found no evidence of any other vehicle being involved.
Toxicology tests carried out two months after his death, by which time some degradation may have occurred, showed he had 236 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, the drink-drive limit being 80.
The coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death.
Reporting on an inquest can be one of the hardest types of stories a journalist can write.
More often than not, they are emotionally charged proceedings attended by grief-stricken people who are desperate for answers.
Sometimes, inquests can seem quite clinical due to a coroner’s need to remain impartial and level-headed so that they can draw a conclusion from desperately sad events.
As painful as these proceedings are for those who have lost a loved one, the lessons that can be learned from inquests can go a long way to saving others’ lives.
Families are often surprised – and sometimes angry – when they see a reporter in attendance.
Understandably they worry the nature of their loved one’s death will be sensationalised and that a news story will forever tarnish their memory.
Responsible and ethically minded journalists will do what they can to report inquests sensitively, while not shying away from the often upsetting facts.
It is vital that the public don’t forget that inquests are a type of judicial inquiry; they are after all held in a coroner’s court.
The press has a legal right to attend inquests and has a responsibility to report on them as part of their duty to uphold the principle of ‘open justice’.
But in doing so journalists must follow the guidance provided by the Independent Press Standards Organistion and set out in Editors’ Code of Conduct.
It’s a journalist’s duty to make sure the public understands the reasons why someone has died and to make sure their deaths are not kept secret.
An inquest report can also clear up any rumours or suspicion surrounding a person’s death.
But most importantly of all, an inquest report can draw attention to circumstances which may stop further deaths from happening.
Inquests are not criminal courts – there is no prosecution or defence – they are fact-finding tribunals which seek to answer four key questions:
- Who is the person who died?
- Where did they die?
- When did they die?
- How did they die?
They do not apportion blame.
Once these questions are answered a coroner will be able to record a conclusion.
The wider lessons that can be learned from an inquest can have far-reaching consequences – but if journalists do not attend them how can the public be made aware?
The harsh reality is they can’t. Coroners often do not publish the results of an inquest.
Should journalists shy away from attending inquests then an entire arm of the judicial system – and numerous others who need to answer vital questions – is not held to account.
Inquests can often prompt a wider discussion on serious issues, the most recent of these being mental health and suicide.
Editors actively ask and encourage reporters to speak to the family and friends of a person who is the subject of an inquest.
Their contributions help us create a clearer picture of the person who died and also provides the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one.
Often families do not wish to speak to the press and of course that decision has to be respected.
However, as has been seen by many brilliant campaigns run by newspapers and websites up and down the country, the input of a person’s family and friends can make all the difference in helping to save others.
Without the attendance of the press at inquests questions will remain unanswered, debates unargued and lives lost.
Following his death, Mr Jones’ devastated family released a tribute in memory of the “skilled joiner.”
It said: “Our dad Paul was a much loved man who was surrounded by his family and friends.
“He was always laughing and joking and made everyone he met feel at ease.
“He had a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone.
“He was a proud father of us two girls, and more recently a proud grampy.
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“Paul was a very skilled joiner with a strong work ethic.
“Ever the perfectionist, Paul took great pride in his work and never had to advertise his business due to so many recommendations and repeat customers, many of whom became close friends.
“A dad, grampy, son, brother, partner and friend, Paul will be sorely missed by all those who knew and loved him.”
You can leave a tribute to Mr Jones by using the comments section