Caroline Aherne’s brother dies in fatal stair fall after putting son to bed

Caroline Aherne's brother plunged to his death down a flight of stairs shortly after tucking his son into bed.

Patrick Aherne, 56, lost his life in a tragic accident at home last year while under the influence of alcohol, an inquest heard today.

The cabaret singer, who was the elder brother of the late Royle Family star, had just put his six year old son to bed when it is thought he lost his footing and tumbled onto the hallway floor.

He was found with fatal brain and spinal injuries by his wife Angela at 2am and died less than four hours later in hospital.

He had been drinking with friends for up to seven hours and is said to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the tragedy.

Tests showed Mr Aherne would have been two and a half times the alcohol limit for driving at the time of the accident.

His death came two years after his comedienne sister passed away in 2016 aged just 52 following a battle with lung cancer.

The tragedy occurred on November 18 last year at Aherne's home in Handforth, near Wilmslow, Cheshire after they had friends round for drinks.

Angela Aherne told the Macclesfield inquest: ''On the day we had a few friends round in the evening, we were having a few drinks, we have a purpose built bar in the garden and everyone had a few drinks.

''He was quite used to having a drink. He didn’t act like he was falling over, he had the same as everyone and he was just having a laugh, it wasn’t extreme.

''Our friends came round at 3/4pm and they all left about 10.30pm…

''He had gone up to bed with our boy. He was putting him to bed, this was about 11. He wasn’t the type of person to bring a drink to bed with him, especially with our son being there.

''When I came back I walked through the door and he was just there…

"I screamed and she came back and we phoned the ambulance straight away…

''It was around 1.50am when we rang. I saw the vomit in his mouth, which was unusual as he never had that from a seizure. That’s why I put him in the recovery position as I didn’t want him to choke.”

She added: ''He suffered from epilepsy fits since he had a stroke four years ago. He had started getting them more regular."

A post mortem examination gave Mr Aherne's cause of death as contusion of brain and spinal cord caused by a fall and high alcohol consumption.

Toxicologist Donna Cameron said: ''The deceased consumed an appreciable amount of alcohol to his death though it is not possible to provide exact effects on the deceased’s death.

''The level of alcohol was 202 milligrammes of alcohol per litre of blood. The legal driving limit is 80mg

"Medical effects can be nausea, vomiting, dizziness and confusion, impaired coordination and reduced inhibitions and awareness.”

Recording a conclusion of accidental death coroner Heath Westerman said: ''On this particular day and evening on November 17th and 18th 2018, Mrs Aherne saw no sign of an impending seizure.

''I am satisfied Patrick's death was accidental after he fell down the stairs at home after a day of drinking at home with friends and family.

"He died due to contusion of his brain and spinal cord sustained by an unwitnessed fall on the stairs at his home address. The high alcohol consumption contributed to his death."

After the hearing Mrs Aherne said: ''After his sister’s death Patrick was very upset. They were very close…

''He was devastated when she passed away. We both were. It’s just a shock that he’s gone not so long after her.

"Our son is six years old, he’s doing quite well and he understands that his daddy is with Auntie Caroline."

In an interview after the comedienne's death Mr Aherne said: "There are many memories of myself and my sister being brought up, but it was always affected by one really bad thing which was cancer, that's part of our history and part of our memory.

"We often had rows and things like that together as brothers and sisters do, but from when we were kids right through to the end, we had a very special bond. You can't put words on it."

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