Dublin man died from auto-erotic asphyxiation while wearing gas mask in 'sex shed'
An inquest into the death of a man who died due to auto-erotic asphyxiation heard the practice can be lethal if something goes wrong.
Graham Egan (41), of Kenilworth Road, Rathmines, was found unresponsive in a shed behind his home on January 23 last year.
His partner, Alan Bigley, told Dublin Coroner's Court that the couple, who were together 11 years, had dinner the previous evening and sat watching TV. Mr Bigley went to bed shortly after midnight.
"Graham said he was going out to the shed to chill out. We use it as a discreet playroom," he said.
Mr Bigley woke at 4.40am to find his partner was not in bed. He went outside to the shed where he found Mr Egan in an unresponsive state.
He was wearing a gas mask and there was evidence of sex toys. Mr Bigley called emergency services.
Mr Egan was rushed to St James’s Hospital. On arrival he was not breathing and was in cardiac arrest, the inquest heard.
He was pronounced dead at 5.39am.
Gda Conor Brady said the man had been found in a concrete structure that appeared to be purpose-built for sexual activity.
State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy performed an autopsy and found Mr Egan had inhaled gastric contents following a recent meal.
The inquest heard he had been diagnosed with an acid reflux problem a month before his death.
Prof Cassidy said there was evidence of medication in the therapeutic range that can cause drowsiness and a very moderate alcohol level.
"The mask was used to produce a hypoxic state to produce a heightened sexual response but if anything goes wrong it can be lethal," she said.
The inquest heard that while this was not unusual behaviour for Mr Egan, it was "the last thing he expected to occur", according to coroner Dr Myra Cullinane.
"Mr Egan was unable to assist himself," she noted, due to the inhalation of gastric contents due to acid reflux.
She returned a verdict of death by misadventure.