Neknominate death: Stephen Brookes suffered acute alcohol poisoning
- 28 April 2014
- From the section Wales
A rugby fan was nearly six times over the drink-drive limit after downing a bottle of vodka in the NekNominate craze, a Cardiff inquest has heard.
Stephen Brookes, 29, of Rumney, died after a friend filmed him drinking three-quarters of the 75cl bottle in the online drinking challenge.
He was "nominated" by a friend to down the drink for Facebook.
The coroner recorded a verdict of death by acute alcohol poisoning and cocaine use.
The inquest was told Mr Brookes had been drinking early in the day on Sunday 9 February after watching Wales play Ireland in the Six Nations.
Collapsed within minutes
But he was dared by friends to gulp back the vodka.
The inquest heard labourer Mr Brookes said he would be "OK" just before performing the stunt.
But within minutes he had collapsed and was unconscious. He was taken home by friends but was later found dead.
His cousin Jodie Cummings told South Wales Police: "Stephen had been watching a rugby match with friends at a house. He had taken a 75cl bottle of vodka.
"A few weeks ago he had been NekNominated. This is something where somebody nominates a friend to down something like a bottle or a pint.
"After midnight when I was in the bathroom, Stephen down the bottle of vodka.
"It was filmed and I saw it on a friend's phone. I saw him neck back the bottle of vodka. He just held the bottle in the air.
"Afterwards he was in good spirits and said, 'you know me'.
"He was dancing around. But 10 minutes later his balance had gone. He was slurring his words - it all happened so quickly."
Friends told police how people were encouraging him to down the vodka at around 01:30, the day after he had watched Wales play Ireland in the Six Nations rugby.
High cocaine level
Another friend Shaun Chivers said the vodka went "within seconds" as he was filmed in the party near his home.
"I saw Stephen had three quarters of the bottle left and I knew he was going to neck it," he said and told his friend to stop "messing around".
He added: "The next thing he necked the bottle and it was gone in seconds.
"Soon after he was swaying all over the place."
Mr Brookes died within an hour of the NekNominate stunt and was later found to have 458 millilitres of alcohol in his blood - the drink-drive limit is 80.
He also had a high level of cocaine in his blood and had taken between 10 and 20 lines of cocaine.
Pathologist Thomas Hockey said he was clearly "well over" the fatal range for alcohol.