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Former Newmarket National Horse Racing Museum director John Round-Turner choked on birthday meal while out with family

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A former director of Newmarket's National Horseracing Museum choked to death on a piece of food as he enjoyed a meal with his family to celebrate his 87th birthday.

John Round-Turner, of Old Station Road in Newmarket, who ran the museum for seven years from 1992, died while dining at the town's Bedford Lodge Hotel on May 17 last year.

An inquest held today in Ipswich heard Mr Round-Turner had suffered with difficulty swallowing as a result of a stroke in 2018. He was also suffering with heart disease and hypertension at the time of his death.

Ipswich Coroner's Court
Ipswich Coroner's Court

While eating lunch with his wife, Irene, to whom he had been married for 60 years, his daughter, Jane, son, Charles, and his four grandchildren, the hearing heard he had begun to choke.

A fellow diner and two staff members at the restaurant had tried to help with first aid and a defibrillator before paramedics arrived to take over resuscitation attempts but they could not save him.

A post-mortem examination recorded choking as the medical cause of death but listed heart disease and hypertension as secondary factors in Mr Round-Turner's death.

National Horseracing Museum, Palace Street
National Horseracing Museum, Palace Street

Recording a narrative verdict, assistant Suffolk coroner, Catherine Wood said Mr Round-Turner's death had been very distressing for all those present, but added: "He died surrounded by his family."

She continued: "I accept the cause of death as choking, ischemic heart disease and hypertension, following a stroke, which created a residual difficulty in swallowing.

"He choked and died as a consequence of an airway obstruction."

Ms Wood thanked all those who had tried to help Mr Round-Turner at the hotel.

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