Royal Navy sailor dies ‘choking on his own vomit’ while drinking on shore leave | World | News

A Royal Navy sailor died during a drinking session while on shore leave in Sweden, an inquest has revealed.

Dominic Twaites, a 26-year-old marine engineer, collapsed on May 14 last year while partying with a fellow HMS Albion crewmate and four other men they met in a Stockholm apartment.

Following his collapse, Swedish police detained all the men in the apartment, including Twaites’ colleague Max Kimber. Although initial suspicions pointed towards foul play, Swedish authorities later ruled out murder.

Herefordshire coroner Mark Bricknell confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Twaites’ death.

Mr Bricknell, who worked closely with the Swedish authorities, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He cited the cause as “aspiration of his gastric contents and alcohol poisoning causing reduced consciousness”, confirming Twaites had “choked on his own vomit”.

The inquest at Hereford Town Hall featured testimony from Warrant Officer Lynsay Wilkie, who co-ordinated the ship’s marine engineers.

She explained that the crew had shore leave in Stockholm, with the freedom to stay overnight in hotels if they wished, but had to report back by 10am the next day.

Royal Navy guidelines recommend that sailors appoint a sober “shark watch” to safeguard their group during outings. When Twaites and Kimber failed to return or make contact by the designated time, WO Wilkie and her colleagues began efforts to locate them.

It became apparent by late morning that Twaites had died, but senior management did not immediately inform WO Wilkie to control the flow of information until Twaites’ family was notified.

“It could have been dealt with better,” WO Wilkie told the inquest. “I was trying to locate Mr Twaites for hours when the ships’ management team already knew. That caused me undue stress.”

WO Wilkie eventually learned of Twaites’ death from Swedish police at 2pm and was invited to the station to speak with the released Kimber.

Mr Bricknell said: “I send my condolences to the family. This will have been hugely and deeply upsetting for them, I imagine.”

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