A BARNOLDSWICK pensioner bled to death after accidentally cutting a blood vessel while cleaning a speech valve in his neck, an inquest heard.

Clarence Armstrong, 67, of Chapel Street, suffered from throat cancer and underwent a complex operation to remove the infected section of vocal chord after radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment failed.

Once swelling from the operation reduced, Mr Armstrong had a small plastic valve fitted into his neck to enable him to speak.

At an inquest East Lancashire Coroner Richard Taylor heard how the grandad lived with this condition for more than three years with only minor set backs.

In a statement from his daughter Pamela Mirfield, she described how her father would only be able to speak for five to 10 minutes before he had to clean the valve.

Mr Armstrong was an independent man who had been taught how to use special brushes to clean his valve several times a day, the inquest heard.

But on September 10 last year, the pensioner texted his daughter in distress after cutting a blood vessel with one of his cleaning brushes. By the time she arrived he had bled to death.

The inquest also heard evidenced from Mr Sanjai Sood, Mr Armstrong’s consultant from Bradford Teaching Hospital.

He said: “In all my experience I have never known this to happen before. I have even discussed this with my colleagues who have also never known anything like it.

“Precision when cleaning would have been vital, even a tiny slip could have had devastating consequences.”

Blood vessels lying behind Mr Armstrong’s valve are believed to have swelled in the months leading up to his death as a result of stretching scar tissue.

Coroner Richard Taylor recorded a verdict of accidental death.