A CORONER has warned of the dangers of lighting barbecues in enclosed spaces after a 22-year-old man died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Nicholas Holmes, of First Avenue, Waterlooville, had gone camping on May 29, this year.
The inquest in Southampton today, heard how Mr Holmes had sent a text to a friend to let him know he had gone to Hollands Wood campsite, in Brockenhurst, for a few days.
On June 1, he used a disposable barbecue in the back of his Peugeot Partner van to cook two burgers.
He then put out the barbecue and left it resting on tea towels to cool down.
His van started filling with poisonous carbon monoxide.
Mr Holmes’s friends tried numerous times to contact him, but when they didn’t hear from him they called the police.
Officers found Mr Holmes in the front seat of his van - he had been dead for two days.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Andy Hedley, of Southampton Central police station, said: ‘He cooked an evening meal of two burgers and used a barbecue.
‘He closed the rear door of the van so it could burn out.
‘He was sat in the front of the van in a relaxed position.
‘He had his smart phone, headphones and Jehovah’s Witness literature on the dashboard.’
The officer then said the van had filled up with carbon monoxide.
He added: ‘There is nothing to support the theory that he had taken his own life.’
Pathologist Norman Carr conducted a post mortem, which found Mr Holmes had been in good health prior to his death.
He said: ‘There were high levels of carbon monoxide in his blood and was a fatal level and in my view represents the cause of his death.’
Deputy coroner Gordon Denson, for Southampton and the New Forest, recorded an accidental death.
He said: ‘This was an unfortunate, tragic accident.
‘I put a plea out to members of the public to make sure they are careful with the use of these barbeques.’
Speaking after the inquest, Nicholas’s father Philip, 52, of Harrowgate, described him as a ‘sensitive and intelligent young man’.
He said: ‘He died from a tragic accident because of a disposable barbecue.
‘I support campaigns to raise awareness of this to prevent more waste of life like this.’