A SHEFFIELD musician died in a fall down the stairs at his home a month after becoming a father for the first time.
Tim McCall, aged 37, was found unconscious by his partner Georgina Abdy at the bottom of the staircase in their house in Petworth Drive, Whirlow, following a drinking session with friends.
But Matthew Cullen, who drank with Tim and friend Robert Hedley at Ian Jackson’s house in nearby Little Common Lane, described the guitarist as “merry” and “perfectly fine” shortly before the accident.
A city inquest heard Tim suffered bruising to his spinal cord and a haemorrhage in his neck.
Tim McCall was a familiar figure on the Sheffield music scene, playing in local bands Woodwork and Pollinates and later joining Jarvis Cocker’s band after being introduced to the Pulp frontman by friend Richard Hawley.
Georgina said Tim went to the Rising Sun pub in Abbey Lane for a drink before last orders on February 16 last year.
She said she took their five-week-old baby Charlotte to bed and at “roughly 3am” saw that the bedroom door had been pushed open.
“Nobody came in – I presumed it was Tim,” she said. “I opened the door and saw Tim standing outside the bathroom. I noticed he’d obviously had a drink, I could just tell.”
Georgina said Tim went in the bathroom and she went to the front door to see Matthew and Robert, who both walked Tim home from Little Common Lane.
After shutting the door she said she prepared the spare room and returned to the main bedroom before hearing a “thud”.
“I checked the bathroom, checked the bedroom and went to the top of the stairs. He was lying face down right at the bottom on the floor, just his feet were lying on the bottom of the stairs.”
Georgina said she initially thought Tim had passed out and heard him taking “gulps of breath” before noticing blood on his face and nose.
An ambulance was called and medics performed CPR at the house before taking him to the Northern General Hospital, where he was certified dead at just after 4am.
The inquest was told ambulance staff were unable to revive Tim, as suction machines used to clear patients’ throats were unable to cope with the amount of vomit clogging his airway.
Coroner Christopher Dorries asked the Yorkshire Ambulance Service to consider reviewing the devices.
Ian Jackson told the inquest Tim downed “two or three” pints of lager at the Rising Sun, then bought a bottle of pear cider. He said they later drank brandy and coke at his house.
Matthew said they also found a partially-drunk bottle of vodka in the kitchen but couldn’t remember whether they finished it off.
Georgina told the inquest her partner wasn’t a regular drinker.
“I would say he could take a couple of shorts and a few pints,” she said, adding it was “not at all common” for him to stay out until 3am.
Pathologist Dr Nicholas Tiffin, who conducted a post mortem examination on the body, said the spinal injury was “probably the most significant factor in Tim’s demise”.
Toxicologist Dr Simon Morley found Tim had 372ml of alcohol per 100ml of his blood, which Mr Dorries called a “whopping great amount” of alcohol.
The coroner, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said: “I was extremely concerned to find myself dealing with a situation where a man who is not a habitual drinker ends up with a massive blood alcohol level and apparently needs to be escorted safely home.
“Had he got into that state in a public house I would have wanted to hear from the licensee.”
Mr Dorries said that he could not determine the length of Tim’s fall but said it was probably further than three steps.