Barrow man died in tragic accident from carbon monoxide poisoning
Michael Barnard, from Barrow, who liked to be known as ‘Mike’, died aged 36 from toxic gases that were coming from the exhaust of his Volkswagen Scirocco into the cab of the vehicle. Cockermouth Coroners Court heard a dog walker first located Mr Barnard slumped at the driver’s seat of his vehicle in the vicinity of Hope Farm, North Scale at approximately 6:35 am on August 17 last year. She described in her statement that the engine was noisy and that it had been running for some time.
She also described that there was a strong smell of oil. The court heard she cut her walk short and returned to the vehicle to check on Mr Barnard but couldn’t feel a pulse in his neck, so called the emergency services. His death was confirmed by paramedics at 6:56 am.
Police confirmed Mr Barnard had arrived at the location at around 1:00 am. A forensic toxicologist found Mike’s carboxyhemoglobin levels were at 63%, which was consistent with death. The court heard the vehicle had passed an MOT on April 3 despite having advisory warnings for a minor leak of gases from the front exhaust.
However, a forensic vehicle examiner found that there was no blame to be proportioned as he said the vehicle was considerably different to when it presented in April having accumulated a further 9553 miles. The court heard that Mike had also been in a ‘turbulent relationship’ with his partner of three years, but that he had been working at Windermere Aquatics and for Securitas at BAE Systems in order to save up money to put a deposit on a house. Coroner Robert Cohen said it was relevant to read into the record a sequence of text messages that Mike had sent to his partner on August 8, which he said implied Mr Barnard wanted to end the relationship and not his own life.
One of the text messages read: ‘It’s time to end this, I can’t anymore, my job is done.’ His sister described in her antecedent statement how her brother loved to DJ and that he was always willing to help anyone. Recording the cause of death as carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of misadventure, Mr Cohen described the death as a ‘tragic accident’.
He added: “It is obvious to me that Mike was a much-loved man, who must leave a great gap in his family’s life.
I am so sorry for your loss.”