Rector was found dead after drink-drive arrest

PUBLISHED: 03:24 07 December 2006 | UPDATED: 10:20 24 May 2010

A RETIRED Weston rector was found dead in his bed just days after being stopped by police on suspicion of drink-driving, an inquest heard. Reverend Barry Irons, of

A RETIRED Weston rector was found dead in his bed just days after being stopped by police on suspicion of drink-driving, an inquest heard.Reverend Barry Irons, of Beach Court, Beach Road, was discovered fully clothed, lying on his bed at his home on the afternoon of June 30.Neighbours Reginald Wyatt and Terry Squire became concerned for the 67-year-old's welfare after not seeing him for a couple of days.After entering his flat with a spare key, they found his bedroom door locked and called the police, who forced open the door to find Mr Irons on the bed.The inquest at Flax Bourton Magistrates Court heard how Rev Irons had spent the evening of June 28 with friends Joe and Shirley Varian, having a meal at a restaurant in Whitecross Road.Mrs Varian, who had known Mr Irons since 1994 when he became rector at St John's Church, said: "When we left the restaurant, we drove along the seafront where we saw Mr Irons' car."He had pulled over by the pier and was talking to a policeman."Mrs Varian said Rev Irons called her at home just before midnight.She added: "He called and said he was at the police station and things weren't too good and that he would have to spend the night in the cells."He asked us to contact his solicitor."He had been drinking rather a lot and admitted he had a meal at the same restaurant earlier in the day."The inquest heard when police attended Mr Irons' flat they found a bottle of whisky, a number of packs of medication and an envelope with Mrs Varian's name and phone number on it and a message saying to phone her.Mrs Varian added: "Mr Irons fantasised a lot and often talked about the fact of taking a lot of pills to end things."He always used to take his medication with a drink of whisky."But in his more private moments he said he lacked the courage and, as he was a priest, it would be against God's will."A post mortem examination showed Mr Irons had a heart condition and was on a range of medication.He also had his blood pressure taken three times a week by friends at his block of flats.A toxicology report revealed Mr Irons had propranolol, asprin and alcohol in his blood, but not at dangerous levels.But Dr David Paterson, who carried out the examination, said the mix of the medication, alcohol and his existing heart condition, was likely to have caused his death.Police confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident.Coroner Terry Moore said: "It is possible that this was an accident or a combination of things. The indications are that the mix of tablets and the pre-existing heart condition lead to his death."Mr Moore recorded an open verdict into Mr Irons' death.

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