Our Inquest team recently represented the family of Cecil Chisale in the Article 2 inquest into his death. The inquest was heard by HM Assistant Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg, assisted by a jury, over the course of three days.

Cecil Chisale sadly died on Tuesday 2nd March 2021 following a pulmonary haemorrhage against a background of synthetic cannabinoid use (SPICE) and other unknown causes.

Cecil was a healthy outgoing young man and was described by his family as a ‘bubbly, vivacious, funny and self-assured’ individual who was remarkably close to his family and in his youth an exceptional sportsman.

Whilst a prisoner in Wymott Prison, Cecil’s mental health deteriorated and Cecil was formerly diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

On 1st June 2020 Cecil was transferred to Guildhall Lodge, a secure mental health inpatient hospital located in Preston.

On 28th February 2021, Cecil was found unconscious and unresponsive on the floor of the communal bathroom in Calder Ward in Guildhall Lodge by a member of staff following a suspected illicit ingestion. Staff attempted resuscitation and called 999. The ambulance arrived and took Cecil to the Royal Preston Hospital. There Cecil remained unconscious and sadly passed away on 2nd March 2021 at 16:20 hours.

Coroner’s Findings

In this case the inquest had the assistance of medical experts in toxicology, pathology and intensive care. Whilst the experts disputed whether the illegal drug caused the fatal pulmonary haemorrhage Cecil suffered all were of the opinion that the synthetic cannabinoids (SPICE) had played some role in Cecil’s death and that it was not possible to confirm or exclude the presence of a natural disease process as the underlying cause of the severe pulmonary haemorrhage.

The Coroner with the assistance of a jury concluded that Cecil’s death was primarily caused by a pulmonary haemorrhage which was partly caused by drugs and partly due to other unknown causes.