28 Sep 2011

Coroner rules restraint prior to asphyxia death reasonable

1:44 pm on 28 September 2011

A coroner has ruled as reasonable in the circumstances the actions of a man who physically restrained another man who was abusive and aggressive and then died of asphyxia.

Builder Darren Grace, 40, died while on a Christmas harbour cruise in Auckland in 2009.

He was restrained by an employee of the cruise's host company who forced him onto a couch and used bodyweight to stop him struggling or breaking free.

When Mr Grace was freed he was unresponsive and could not be revived.

Coroner Peter Ryan says Mr Grace died of asphyxia due to pressure on his neck.

He says contributory factors included Mr Grace's use of methaphetamine and alcohol, and a pathologist's finding that he had heart disease and may have started having a heart attack at least seven hours before his death.

Mr Ryan says the actions taken to restrain Mr Grace's aggressive and threatening behaviour were reasonable.

The police investigated the case at the time and concluded the employee was defending himself and others on the boat.