8 Apr 2013

Heart attack at checkpoint caused by stress - Coroner

5:44 pm on 8 April 2013

A heart attack that caused the death of a woman at a police drink-drive checkpoint was brought on by stress and anxiety, a coroner has found.

Elizabeth Gilbertson, 56, died after collapsing in a booze bus in Hamilton in June last year.

Coroner Gordon Matenga's findings were made public on Monday.

It says Ms Gilbertson was unable to provide a breath specimen and collapsed to the floor, hitting her head on a seat. As she was being treated, she went into cardiac arrest and couldn't be resuscitated.

Coroner Gordon Matenga says Ms Gilbertson was a shy, timid and anxious person who would have been terrified due to previous violent experiences in South Africa and also due to her nature.

He says her heart attack was brought on by increased levels of anxiety and stress as a result of being stopped at the checkpoint.

Mr Matenga says his findings should in no way be taken as adverse comment on the police officers involved and there is no evidence to suggest that Ms Gilbertson was treated with anything but courtesy and respect.

Mr Matenga says his findings are a recognition of Ms Gilbertson's idiosyncrasies.

ESR tests established that the level of alcohol in her blood was well below the driving limit.