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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Death of Barrow chef, 45, is still a mystery

THE death of a chef who worked at a popular Italian restaurant remains a mystery, an inquest heard.


Philip Baker, who worked for 12 years as a chef at Salvana’s in Cavendish Street, Barrow, was found dead in his flat in Albert Street on September 17.

The inquest into the 45-year-old’s death heard the pathologist was unable to find any evidence to explain the cause of death.

Mr Ian Smith, south and east Cumbria coroner, yesterday recorded a verdict of natural causes.

He told the inquest in his conclusion: “That is, to an extent, unsatisfactory, because the idea of an inquest is to tell you exactly what happened.

“But medical science doesn’t always have the answers – and it does not in this particular case.”

Mr Baker’s mother, Barbara Baker, told the hearing at Barrow Town Hall that she last saw her son at around 4pm the day before he was found dead.

Mr Baker, who grew up on Walney and went to South Walney Junior School and Walney School, had been suffering from pain to his back and his neck and shoulder area.

Ms Baker said: “He seemed as if he was in a lot of pain.

“It was a sort of rheumatoid arthritis type of pain.

“He had it off and on, but it was strengthened this time.

“He could normally blank it out but he couldn’t blank it out (on this occasion).”

The inquest heard the pathologist’s report confirmed Mr Baker’s blood samples were clear, containing no trace of drugs or alcohol.

The report said it was theoretically possible he suffered an epileptic seizure, even though he had had no previous history of them.

It was also possible he could have suffered a heart attack which killed him so quickly it left no trace.

A possible interference with his heart beat which caused it to stop was also a possibility, the pathologist’s report said.

Mr Baker had in the past undergone an electrocardiogram check after to complaining to his GP of chest pains.

However, the inquest was told that the results from that electrocardiogram test had showed no abnormality.

But Mr Smith said all these possibilities were just speculation.

He added: “The pathologist – and it is his job to find some sort of event and normally there would be some sign – has not been able to find anything at all.

“I cannot invent something and pretend it’s the cause of death when we don’t really know.”

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