A WOMAN choked to death on a pickled onion as her horrified partner tried to save her, an inquest heard.

Louise Amey turned blue and fell to the floor ‘like a sack of potatoes’ after the onion got stuck in her throat as she watched TV.

Dorset coroner Sheriff Payne heard partner Mark Sanderson describe how 47-year-old Ms Amey turned blue despite his frantic attempts to help her.

Paramedics continued to try to save her life and removed the onion from her throat but by the time she arrived at Poole Hospital she had suffered a cardiac arrest and catastrophic brain injuries.

Mr Sanderson said he and his partner were watching Dancing on Ice at 8.30pm on Sunday, March 9 when the pickled onion lodged in her throat.

He said: “She stood up and I noticed she was breathing very faintly. “She was turning blue.

“I had noticed there was a jar of pickled onions on the side. She collapsed on me and I tried everything I could to revive her.

“She went down like a sack of potatoes.”

Mr Sanderson, who had been Ms Amey’s partner for more than six years, added: “She had a heart of gold. It was heart-breaking to see it happen in front of me.

“It was just a freak accident – it’s so hard to deal with.”

The Bournemouth inquest was told Ms Amey, of Ringwood Road, Poole, had worked for Tesco for 24 years and was well-known and well-liked.

She died in Poole Hospital five days after the incident and Mr Payne recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The cause of her death was recorded as bronchial pneumonia, due to brain damage, due to choking.


DR Shelley Carter, pictured left, a GP based at the Providence surgery in Boscombe, said choking is more common than people realise.

“In adults it almost always happens while eating, or chewing gum. Getting familiar with what to do in the situation where someone is choking is possible for most people and may be life saving,” she explains.

“Children and babies can also choke on small objects put in their mouths. In my experience, boiled sweets in particular can be easily inhaled and should be avoided,” she says.

“Other simple measures such as keeping small objects out of reach of babies and small children, and avoiding eating while on the go are sensible bits of advice.”

If choking becomes severe, the person will not be able to speak or cry, cough or breathe. Without help they will eventually become unconscious.

Full advice on what to do in the event of someone choking is available on the NHS Choices website. Always call 999 in an emergency.