A FATHER died after collapsing in his garden on Christmas Day – just hours after a drunkenargument with his partner.
An inquest in Halifax heard yesterday how Andrew Steven Ledgard, 50, of Whitwell Avenue in Elland, had drunk the equivalent of eight pints of lager.
A post-mortem showed how Mr Ledgard – known as Steven – died from acute pancreatitis caused by excessive alcohol and that he had become hypothermic after lying helpless in the garden in freezing temperatures.
After the inquest yesterday Mr Ledgard’s son Daniel and daughter Elaine told of a “loving” and “caring” father.
Mr Ledgard – who had two children and four grandchildren – worked as a textile operative at Camira Fabrics in Meltham for 19 years.
Daniel, 28, said: “He was there if anyone needed him and he was great with his four grandchildren.
“He liked his jokes and his practical jokes but he could be serious when he needed to be.”
Daniel spoke of the horror of finding out his father was dead and having to break the tragic news to his twin sister Elaine.
He said Christmas would never be the same again.
But he added: “We’ve got to try and make it as normal as possible for the sake of the children.”
Mr Ledgard’s neighbour, Ian Farrar, found him lying in the garden early on Christmas Day last year.
Mr Farrar told the inquest that at 2am he and his wife had heard a scratching noise outside.
He went to investigate and found the father-of-two lying in the garden groaning and so immediately called an ambulance.
Mr Farrar told the inquest the previous night he had heard Mr Ledgard having a “drunken argument” with his partner, Lorraine Roberts.
Giving evidence, Ms Roberts said they had been out for Christmas Eve drinks and had both drunk a lot.
She said when they got home at around 9pm, Mr Ledgard had lost the keys to the house after dropping them in the garden.
She said they “had words” and Mr Ledgard had gone over to his neighbour Andrew Todd’s house to ask if he could borrow a torch to look for the keys.
Mr Todd told the inquest Mr Ledgard seemed drunk but in good spirits and he had helped him find the keys.
He said: “He was like a naughty schoolboy giggling. I could tell he and Lorraine had had words.”
He said Mr Ledgard had been carrying a half-full bottle of Southern Comfort in his hand which he was drinking from.
He thought he had seen him go back to his house later on that evening.
Ms Roberts told the inquest how she went to bed at around 10.15pm and the next thing she knew it was 2.45am the next day and paramedics were banging on the door.
She said: “It was very, very cold and icy that night. I thought he had gone to the neighbours’ house or to the pub – or failing that gone to one of the children’s houses which he has done in the past – so you don’t worry so much.”
Dr Richard Knights – who performed the post mortem – told the inquest there was a small possibility hypothermia had caused Mr Ledgard’s acute pancreatitis.
But he said it was more likely that Mr Ledgard’s history of drinking and excessive alcohol intake had caused his pancreas to haemorrhage.
Coroner Paul Marks recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.