Man died from auto-erotic asphyxiation, inquest told

An inquest into the death of a man who died due to autoerotic asphyxiation heard the practice can be lethal if anything goes wrong.

Graham Egan, aged 41, of Kenilworth Road, Rathmines, Dublin, was found unresponsive in a shed to the rear of his home on January 23, 2015. The man’s partner, Alan Bigley told Dublin Coroner’s Court that the couple, together 11 years, had had dinner the previous evening and sat together watching TV. Mr Bigley went to bed shortly after midnight.

“Graham said he was going out to the shed to chill out. We use it as a discreet playroom,” he said.

Mr Bigley woke at 4.40am to find his partner was not in bed. He went outside to the shed where he found Mr Egan in an unresponsive state. He was wearing a gas mask and there was evidence of sex toys. Mr Bigley was unable to rouse him and called emergency services.

Mr Egan was rushed to St James’s Hospital. On arrival he was not breathing and was in cardiac arrest, the inquest heard. He was pronounced dead at 5.39am.

Garda Conor Brady said the man had been found by his partner in a concrete shed structure that appeared to be purpose-built for sexual activity. He found nothing of a suspicious nature.

State pathologist Marie Cassidy performed an autopsy and found the man had inhaled gastric contents following a recent meal. The inquest heard he had been diagnosed with an acid reflux problem a month before his death.

This was an auto-erotic death, Dr Cassidy said and Mr Egan died due to suffocation and the inhalation of gastric contents.

“The mask was used to produce a hypoxic state to produce a heightened sexual response but if anything goes wrong it can be lethal,” Dr Cassidy said.

The coroner returned a verdict of death by misadventure.


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