Elderly man impaled on knife in tragic fall

The inquest was held at Scarborough Town Hall
The inquest was held at Scarborough Town Hall

An elderly man died when he fell on his own knife after chopping vegetable for his much-loved rabbits.

In what the coroner described as a “tragic accident”, Brian Rumford suffered a stab wound to the chest believed to have been caused when he fell on his knife after feeding his rabbits.

The 79-year-old, of Potter Brompton, was found by his close neighbour after the couple suspected something was wrong when Mr Rumford’s door was left open.

He was found near his garden shed on June 16 last year, collapsed and unresponsive. On further examination, a knife was found embedded in his chest.

Mr Rumford’s neighbour, who described the 79-year-old as like a surrogate grandad, was alerted to the incident by his wife who had gone round to check on Mr Rumford.

He said: “When I approached him I knew he had died. He was cold, hard and stiff, not like someone who had fainted.”

The post-mortem revealed the knife had severed the left ventricle and the pathologist said it would have led to a “torrential loss of consciousness in death”.

Mr Rumford had a history of heart disease and was fitted with a defibrillator pacemaker. He also suffered from severe atheroma which could have suddenly and unexpectedly caused him to fall.

He had fallen six months prior to his death, but had no recollection of the fall and it was put down to low blood sugar. There had been no other incident since. Coroner Michael Oakley reached the conclusion of accidental death at the inquest held at Scarborough Town Hall on February 16.

The detective sergeant involved with the investigations said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and agreed with the coroner’s question that he saw this as a “tragic accident”.

It also did not appear to be a deliberate attempt to end his life. Although very uncommon, the most likely scenario was that Mr Rumford fell and impaled himself on the knife.