Excessive alcohol killed Twilight fan

By Abby Gillies

The Reading Cinema Complex where the body of Damian Anthony Smythe was found in 2010. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The Reading Cinema Complex where the body of Damian Anthony Smythe was found in 2010. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A man whose body was found after a screening of a Twilight film in Wellington died from excessive alcohol, a coroner has found.

Damian Anthony Smythe, 23, was found dead in the Reading Cinema on Courtenay Pl after a screening of Twilight on July 4, 2010.

Coroner Ian Roderick Smith, in his findings released today, said a post-mortem examination and medical tests revealed Mr Smythe died from acute alcohol toxicity, with a blood alcohol level of 569 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood.

Police evidence showed Mr Smythe, who was unemployed, sneaked into the 6pm showing of the film without paying.

While the movie was playing, Mr Smythe left through an exit and spoke to a staff member at the cinema who directed him where to go for a cigarette.

A short time later he went back into the cinema.

Another movie-goer, who was sitting behind Mr Smythe during the film, later told police she saw him "scull" at least half a bottle of whisky before he slumped forward and started snoring.

About five minutes before the end of the movie he became silent, the woman said.

When cleaners entered the cinema at 8.20pm, they noticed Mr Smythe slumped in his seat with an empty 1-litre bottle of Johnnie Walker Whisky beside him.

"When the cleaner could not wake him she called security who immediately found the deceased was cold and blue in the face," Coroner Smith said.

Cinema staff followed by ambulance officers tried to resuscitate Mr Smythe but he could not be revived.

Mr Smythe's father said his son had an alcohol problem and he had tried to get him to go into rehabilitation.

Mr Smythe also had a criminal record of stealing from businesses including supermarkets and liquor stores and had been served with several trespass notices.

Coroner Smith described Mr Smythe's death as "a sad, tragic loss of the life of a person so young".

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 21 Apr 2014 09:39:23 Processing Time: 94ms