York & North Yorkshire

Cheese boss Mandy Reed died in garden after drinking

An award-winning cheesemaker died in a frozen garden after drinking heavily on a night out celebrating her son's 21st birthday, an inquest has heard.

Mandy Reed's body was discovered in her neighbour's garden in the village of Scorton, North Yorkshire, in February.

The inquest heard the 47-year-old, who ran the Swaledale Cheese Company, died due to a combination of alcohol intoxication and exposure to cold.

Coroner Robert Turnbull recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

Taxi home

Her son Sam Reed told Richmond Coroner's Court his mother had been out drinking with him and his friends in Richmond the night before she was found dead.

Mr Reed told the inquest she went home by taxi after having a meal.

"I explained to the taxi driver that our house isn't very easy to find," said Mr Reed.

"I said 'stop at the main bus stop and she will walk home from there'. I went to the back door and told her that I loved her and asked her to ring me when she got home."

Mr Reed stayed at a friend's house and returned home the next afternoon to find his mother was not there.

Body near shrubbery

After calling some of Mrs Reed's friends and his sister, Louise, Mr Reed still could not find his mother and so called the police.

When they arrived in the village they went into a neighbour's garden while looking for her home.

In the garden they found Mrs Reed's body, lying near a shrubbery.

Dr Peter Cooper, who carried out the post-mortem examination on Mrs Reed's body, said she died of a combination of acute alcohol intoxication and exposure to cold.

Mrs Reed's blood contained 370mg of alcohol per 100ml, four-and-a-half times the legal driving limit, he said in a statement read out in court.

It was a level that "would correspond to a severe level of intoxication often leading to death, either from choking on vomit or respiratory degradation."

The coroner accepted the findings of the post-mortem examination.

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