Paul Inman’s death: Coca-Cola’s unusual contribution to his demise

Paul Inman was found dead in his room at Three Sisters Care home in Haworth, West Yorkshire, England, in March 2012. Becky Earwaker, a caregiver at the facility, found Inman unresponsive with his face down on his bed. Staff said that Inman seemed fine before going to bed the night before. 

Detectives found nothing suspicious about Paul’s death. The results of an inquest into Paul Inman’s death, which were released more than a year later, revealed that he passed away due to edema caused by enlarged lungs. Paul’s excessive drinking of the fizzy drink Coca-Cola triggered fluid buildup in his lungs, making breathing difficult.

Paul drank excessively due to a non-medical condition linked to his Aspergers

When Paul was 17, he was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. A review of the diagnosis in 2008 ruled out schizophrenia and concluded that Paul had a form of autism known as Asperger’s Syndrome. 

Inman moved into the Haworth home six months before his death, where he was extremely happy, per his mom Alison Inman. Paul would leave the home daily to purchase his daily three-liter dose of Coca-Cola, which he drank alongside glasses of water. 

Paul’s Aspergers caused his extreme drinking. It triggered a non-medical condition called polydipsia, which in Greek means ‘much thirst.’ 

Dr. Deirdre McKenna said that the excess fluid in his body caused the lungs to expand to around three to four times the normal weight. Paul’s compromised lungs couldn’t provide the body with enough oxygen, leading to his death. 

Dr. McKenna ruled out epilepsy and heart attack, concluding that Paul died to excessive drinking. The final report stated that Paul Inman passed away due to natural causes.

Paul’s mom, Alison Inman, claimed that she arrived at the coroner’s conclusion a couple of hours after her son’s death. She described his cola drinking as a life-long habit. Alison said:

“I’m not a pathologist but I made that decision two hours after he died. I’ve said all this time the cause of it was he drank excessively, absolutely excessively. He had done since he was ten years old. We used to say he had a self-destruct button.”

Inman also smoked excessively and had trouble staying still

The Three Sisters Care home staff had to regulate Paul’s smoking as he would finish a pack of cigarettes within an hour. Inman also had trouble staying still and would go through two pairs of trainers weekly. 

However, though unhealthy, the smoking and hyperactivity didn’t kill him. They may have contributed to his death, but it was Paul’s consumption of Coca-Cola that directly caused his demise. 

Paul Inman’s passing was eerily similar to Natasha Harish’s death several years prior. Harris, a 30-year-old New Zealand native, smoked and drank excessive amounts of Coca-Cola. 

The coroner said that large quantities of the carbonated drink were a ‘substantial factor’ in Natasha’s death. However, in Harris’s case, the drinking caused cardiac arrhythmia, while in Paul’s case, it caused pulmonary edema. 

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