RICHARD Warden was out celebrating his fiancee’s birthday on the night he collapsed in a King’s Lynn nightclub and then later died an inquest heard today (Thursday).
The 34-year-old father of one collapsed in Chicago Rock Cafe last July and died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital despite efforts by door supervisors at the nightspot to resuscitate him.
Norfolk coroner William Armstrong recorded a verdict that Mr Warden, a caterer from Wisbech Road, Tipps End, died accidentally from a combination of natural causes and the use of cocaine and alcohol.
A post mortem revealed he had an underlying heart condition that was undiagnosed as he had not been seen by a doctor recently. But before his death he had been complaining about pains in his groin, sweating at night and was not a well man, he said.
The inquest heard that Mr Warden, who had a one-year-old daughter, went to King’s Lynn with his fiancee, Sarah Wojtowich, to celebrate her birthday on July 28. Her sister was with them.
Miss Wojtowich said Mr Warden had four double vodka and Cokes in the Globe Hotel before they went to Kudos, where he bought a gramme of cocaine.
“We were having a good night out and all dancing,” she said.
She knew her fiance had the cocaine and suspected that he took it when he went to the toilet, although he told her he had not.
By midnight they had moved onto Chicago’s, where CCTV footage showed Mr Warden looked intoxicated and agitated, Detective Constable Larrissa Foreman told the inquest.
She said he swung a punch at an unknown man, who fell backwards, although there was no direct evidence that he had made contact.
Door supervisor Paul Brook went over to Mr Warden to calm the situation and, as he still seemed agitated, sought help from fellow supervisor Ben Norman.
The two men restrained his arms until he calmed down. Then, as he walked towards the DJ’s box near the stage with Mr Brook, he suddenly clutched his chest, rolled forward and collapsed on the floor.
Mr Norman said he radioed the head doorman to get an ambulance and kept the crowd back, while Mr Brook tried to resuscitate Mr Warden, whose lips had gone blue.
The coroner said Mr Warden had not taken “a grossly excessive amount of alcohol and cocaine”, but the combination was enough to cause his death.
Miss Wojtowich said her fiance was no saint, but loyal and a family man and they were going to get married.
“He was the love of my life,” she said.