'Cot death' of diabetic bookie, 56

A DIABETIC bookie who struggled to control his condition through insulin injections, died suddenly, an inquest heard. John Wills, 56, of St Mary s, Gascoinge Estate, Barking, suffered from learning difficulties and needed help from his family to administe

A DIABETIC bookie who struggled to control his condition through insulin injections, died suddenly, an inquest heard.

John Wills, 56, of St Mary's, Gascoinge Estate, Barking, suffered from learning difficulties and needed help from his family to administer the vital jabs.

His GP, Dr Deshpande, of The Orchard surgery in Gascoigne Road, noted that on several occasions Mr Wills had forgotten to take his insulin and became hypoglycemic - meaning his blood sugar levels plummeted - and he passed out at work.

His cousin, Francis Mahoney, of Sutton Road, Barking, told the court that Mr Wills had to be injected twice a day and carried a Mars chocolate bar in his pocket in case his blood sugar levels dipped.


You may also want to watch:


The 56-year-old bookmaker lived with his frail, elderly mother on the Gascoigne Estate and had never married.

On the day that he died, October 20, Mr Wills came home from work at about 6pm and went into the toilet.

Most Read

His mother heard two banging noises about 15 minutes later but she was unable to open the door so she called her sister for help.

Mr Mahoney came over as quick as he could and, together with his girlfriend, they managed to force their way in. They found Mr Wills was lying face down.

They called an ambulance but it was too late.

Mr Mahoney, who has lifesaving training said he knew that his cousin was already dead.

"I put my hand by his nose and I couldn't detect any breathing signs," he said.

"We moved his body out of the bathroom and tried to keep my aunt from seeing her son that way. She was very upset.

"This has been quite a shock for the whole family."

A post-mortem was carried out by Dr Peter Tanner, who could not find any pathological cause of death.

However, he told the court that there were two possible explanations for Mr Wills' death - a hypoglycemic episode or Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS).

Dr Tanner said the most likely cause of death was SADS, described by Coroner Dr Elisabeth Stearns as a grown-up version of cot death.

Dr Stearns recorded a verdict of natural death by SADS and expressed her sympathy to Mr Wills' family.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter