Newcastle OAP tells of role in son's 'tragic' death
GRIEF-STRICKEN father Phillip Ault has described what happened on the night his violent son died after he tried to restrain him.
The 68-year-old was initially arrested on suspicion of killing son Jeffrey at the family's home in Newcastle.
But it later emerged Jeffrey died as he was restrained while having a drunken, violent episode, and no charges were brought.
An inquest into the 43-year-old's death yesterday heard he suffered brain damage as a result of being starved of oxygen at birth.
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He was a heavy drinker who was prone to violent outbursts, which his father could only combat by getting him to the floor and sitting on him.
On the night of February 23 last year, Mr Ault went into his son's bedroom and found he had a bottle of strong cider, which he was not allowed in the house.
When challenged, Jeffrey became confrontational and shoved his father, causing him to fall and hit his head.
Speaking at yesterday's hearing at Hartshill, Mr Ault said: "Jeffrey was an unsavoury character in drink. He was Jekyll and Hyde. Over the years I knew there's only one way of controlling him, and that's to grab around the neck, get him on the floor, sit on him, then you can grab his arms and stop him thrashing about."
A few minutes after tackling his son in that way, Mr Ault stood up and went downstairs, but went to check on Jeffrey when he did not get up as normal.
Realising he was not breathing, Mr Ault called 999 and police and paramedics arrived.
He said: "They were working on him when I was put in handcuffs and taken away.
"I didn't know for goodness knows how long whether he lived or whether he died. It turned out he didn't make it, which was very unfortunate."
A post-mortem examination found Jeffrey had been asphyxiated 'during an episode of prone restraint'. The effect on him had been aggravated by medication he was taking and alcohol – he was almost twice the legal drink dive limit.
The inquest heard Jeffrey had started drinking at 16, and his problem led to him repeatedly getting in trouble.
He lived with his parents at their London Road home for many years, after his behaviour saw him kicked out of two flats arranged for him by social services.
His uncles, Harry and Roger Ault, gave evidence in support of their brother Phillip at the hearing.
Harry Ault said: "The only establishment Jeffrey was never ejected from was his parents', through all the violence, arrests, setting fire to the place and flooding, still they never turned him away."
Anthony Curzon, deputy coroner for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, recorded that Jeffrey died as a result of misadventure.
He said: "This is a most tragic matter, the whole history of Jeffrey's life was tragic. Absolutely no one can be blamed for what happened on this particular occasion."