A PENSIONER who refused to cut up his food choked to death on two pieces of unchewed meat.

Retired miner Rennie Ridge, 72, died despite efforts by staff at Crawshaw Hall nursing home, Crawshawbooth, to save him, an inquest heard.

Keith Ridge of Kings Drive, Hapton, said his father was physically healthy but had suffered from mental problems for some years. He lived at Crawshaw Hall where he was extremely well cared for.

He was unaware of him having eating problems although he did tend to wolf down his food, he said.

Home manager John Bullock said Mr Riley tended to eat his meals very fast and was advised to take more time.

He did not cut up his food, only using his fork. Both he and other staff had told him to cut up his food. It had also been suggested that it should be cut up before it was served but Mr Ridge did not want that.

At 5pm on Saturday, January 13, Mr Ridge was having his meal of braised lamb when he stood up pointing at his throat.

Mr Bullock told the inquest at Rawtenstall Town Hall that he tried to get Mr Ridge to cough it up and that assistant manager Christine Harreron, a fully qualified nurse, tried to clear the obstruction with a suction cup.

Paramedics then took over but couldn't save him. Two large pieces of unchewed meat were recovered from his throat.

Pathologist Dr Abdul al Dawoud said cause of death was asphyxia due to an obstruction of the larynx by food material.

East Lancashire Coroner David Smith recorded a verdict of accidental death.