Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the death of Nicole Emily BICKNELL

Inquest into the Death of Nicole Emily BICKNELL

Delivered on : 18 August 2017

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Deputy State Coroner Vicker

Recommendations : Yes

I recommend comprehensive education as to the effect of alcohol, specifically on developing brains and respiratory function, be provided to all students receiving secondary education whether they be involved in applied science courses or not.

Such education to explain the need for hospitalisation for people unconscious due to the effects of intoxication and the need for CPR to be commenced and continued until advised otherwise by attending paramedics if the intoxicated person ceases to breathe for themselves.

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary: On 1 November 2014 the deceased celebrated, with her friends and family, her 18th birthday party.   Throughout the course of the night the deceased drank 18 alcoholic beverages, participated in a drinking game involving full strength Midori liquor and was later observed to voluntarily consume an unknown amount of the ‘Polmos’ spirit.

Shortly after, the deceased was put to bed, after being noted to be drowsy and incoherent before becoming unconscious. In the early hours of the morning on 2 November 2014 she was found unresponsive, cold and not breathing and was later certified deceased at Armadale Kelmscott Hospital.

The Coroners Court saw fit for an Inquest to be held in this particular case pursuant to section 22 (2) of the Coroners Act 1996 (WA) to raise public awareness of the dangers for young adults consuming large amounts of alcohol.

The Inquest heard from a range of witnesses including Dr Joyce, a Physician in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Dr White, Forensic Pathologist, Dr Bailey, Clinical Services Director of St John Ambulance and Dr Brown, Clinician at Next Step Drug & Alcohol Treatment Service, who all provided facts and statistics based around the effects of alcohol and what it can do to the body.

The Deputy State Coroner was satisfied the deceased died as a direct result of her voluntary alcohol consumption and the toxic effects of alcohol upon her ability to breathe effectively and confirmed the deceased’s cause of death as the result of acute alcohol toxicity with early pneumonia and aspiration.

The Deputy State Coroner found death occurred by way of Misadventure and made one recommendation from this matter, outlining the importance for education on the effects of alcohol on developing brains and respiratory function to be provided to students in secondary education.

Catch Words: Acute Alcohol Toxicity : Naïve Drinking: 18th Birthday Party

Last updated: 30-Apr-2019

[ back to top ]