Paramedics battled for an hour to try to save 25-year-old man electrocuted in Hove flat

Posted On 04 Dec 2017 at 7:29 pm

Paramedics spent almost an hour trying to save the life of a 25-year-old father of two who was electrocuted in a flat in Hove.

Aron Duplock, a railway security guard, was helping his step-brother Paul Brown, of Downland Drive, Hangleton, to try to fix an Acer Aspire computer.

An inquest at Brighton and Hove Coroner’s Court heard evidence indicating that Mr Duplock was touching the computer’s “heat sink” when the power was switched on.

The shock sent Mr Duplock back a few steps. He said: “I can’t let go.”

Mr Brown said that when his brother went quiet he thought that he was messing around as he had done many times before.

Mr Duplock’s father, Perry Duplock, told the inquest: “When he was younger, he mucked about a lot.

“He always used to play practical jokes on me and I would play practical jokes on him until I had my heart attack.”

He even put his finger in a plug socket, laid down and played dead, his father said.

Mr Duplock added: “I told him, one of these days, son, you’re going to do that and it’s going to catch you out.”

Mr Brown said that his brother had nodded when asked if he was ok so Mr Brown went outside with his girlfriend Amanda Cutler for a cigarette.

He said: “I thought he was mucking around and wanted to give him time to calm down and when I came back he was dead.”

When the couple realised that Mr Duplock was in a bad way, they called for an ambulance and started trying to resuscitate him.

Paramedic Rachel Lavender was sent from Hove Ambulance Station and arrived at the flat four minutes later.

She and her colleagues from the South East Coast Ambulance Service spent almost an hour trying to revive Mr Duplock before pronouncing him dead.

They spent so long trying to help him partly because he was so young, she said.

Throughout the entire time, Mr Duplock had been flatlining, with no signs of a heartbeat or pulse.

Aron Duplock

She told the inquest that Mr Duplock’s blood had started to pool, his jaw was stiff and his body temperature cool. This seemed to suggest a delay before dialling 999.

As required, she shared her findings with Sussex Police.

An investigation followed but despite some discrepancies in the statements given by Mr Brown and Miss Cutler, Detective Sergeant Donna Ward said that they did not face any charges.

Miss Cutler broke down in tears as she admitted during questioning that she had panicked when Mr Duplock suffered the electric shock.

Assistant coroner Catharine Palmer asked Mr Brown whether he had gone out for a cigarette to buy time to think?

He said no, but she asked him whether he had panicked? She asked: “You thought you were going to get into awful trouble with your family and the police and that’s why there was the delay?”

Again, he said that that wasn’t the case. He said that he had screwed the heat sink cover back on although he accepted that he may have been mistaken.

Earlier the court, at Woodvale, in Lewes Road, Brighton, heard consultant pathologist Mark Taylor say that electrocution was, on the balance of probabilities, the most likely cause of death.

It may have knocked Mr Duplock’s heart out instantly. If it did, the delay in trying to revive him would have made no difference. Even textbook or gold standard resuscitation would not have saved him.

The coroner said at the inquest this afternoon (Monday 4 December) that Mr Duplock’s death on Saturday 3 June was an accident.

She told his parents Viv Slark and Perry Duplock: “He was a son to be proud of.”

Viv Slark said afterwards: “He was fun-loving, caring and kind and he will be sadly missed.”

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