Builder died after Pendle drinks binge

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A builder died after drinking around two and a half bottles of vodka on Pendle Hill.

John Austin Rainford (48) had 475 mg of alcohol in his blood – six times the legal drink drive limit.

Mr Rainford, who had been living with his cousin, Marie Wilkinson, since June last year at her home at Stockbridge Road, Padiham, was found collapsed down a steep embankment at the Nick of Pendle on Saturday, October 25th, last year.

She told an inquest that Mr Rainford had been living with her after the break down of his marriage. She said that the day before Mr Rainford’s death, she had spoken to his business partner and learnt that they were going their separate ways. However, she added that she had no cause for concern when Mr Rainford left her house at 10-45 pm the night before his death.

Mr Rainford’s body was found the morning after by two runners, who had parked up on the car park on the Nick of Pendle near Sabden at around 7 am and had planned to run to the summit. Mr Rainford was found 20ft down a hillside face down in the grass surrounded by three bottles of vodka, with only one half full.

Dr Richard Prescott, consultant pathologist at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, who conducted a post-mortem on Mr Rainford said he was satisfied that the high amount of alcohol Mr Rainford had consumed was associated with severe cardio respiratory depression and was the cause of death.

Coroner Mr Michael Singleton concluded that the amount Mr Rainford drank on Pendle Hill that night had proved fatal. He added that although there had been a parting of ways between Mr Rainford and his business partner and that he had appeared “a bit down” at times to his cousin, it was difficult to conclude Mr Rainford’s intentions that night. He said it was possible Mr Rainford had not formulated any specific intentions other than to “get wasted”.

“I cannot reach a verdict that he intended to bring about his own death that evening,” Mr Singleton said, concluding that Mr Rainford’s was an alcohol related death the cause of which was ethanol toxicity.

Father-of-two Mr Rainford set up building company Wesford Ltd with business partner Darren Clawson. He attended Padiham’s St John the Baptist Primary and St Augustine’s High School at Billington.