Coroner: Autoerotic asphyxiation fraught with danger

A coroner has warned people engaging in autoerotic asphyxiation that the practice is “fraught” with danger and can cause instantaneous death.

Dublin coroner Brian Farrell made the comments before returning a verdict of misadventure at the inquest into the death of Andrew Myers, aged 29, who was found hanging in a garden shed at his home in Pinewoods, Clondalkin, on January 19 last year.

The evidence at the inquest indicated that Mr Myers died while engaged in autoerotic asphyxiation, a practice where a person intentionally restricts oxygen flow for sexual arousal.

“I don’t think that people understand the danger of this,” Dr Farrell said. “It is a highly dangerous thing to be engaged in. One slip and you will get tightening of the ligature, causing reflex cardiac arrest.”

Mr Myers was found in the shed, which he used for recreational purposes, by his father David Myers.

Mr Myers was in a state of undress when he was discovered. There was no note or letter, and the family said he had never expressed thoughts of suicide.

Dr Farrell said the evidence was not consistent with death by suicide and it was more likely to be autoerotic asphyxiation that had gone “tragically wrong”. Death happens “almost instantaneously” when pressure is placed on the carotid sinus in the neck, he said.


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