Louth theatre director ‘fell to his death after wasp sting’

Mr Gibson worked as a director at the Riverhead Theatre in Louth.
Mr Gibson worked as a director at the Riverhead Theatre in Louth.

A popular theatre director with a wasp allergy tragically died after he was stung and fell from a ladder outside his home in Louth, an inquest has heard.

Michael John Gibson, 66, of Robinson Lane - who was a director at Louth Playgoers - died following the incident last year.

Last week’s inquest at Boston Coroner’s Court heard that on November 2, Mr Gibson told his wife, Janine Sutton, that he was intending to remove a wasps’ nest from the roof of their home, after discovering a wasp in his bedroom earlier that day.

Ms Sutton returned to the house at around 3.50pm to find the door open, and no sign of her husband.

She rang his mobile phone and followed the sound of her husband’s ringtone, only to discover his body on the ground in the garden.

Ms Sutton called the emergency services and performed CPR on her husband until they arrived.

Unfortunately, it was too late to save him, and he was pronounced dead at approximately 4.45pm.

Area Coroner Paul Smith told the inquest that a post-mortem report stated a combination of an anaphylactic shock as a result of a wasp sting and a spinal fracture led to Mr Gibson’s death.

A toxicology report showed Mr Gibson had been drinking prior to the incident and had a blood-ethanol level of 121 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood.

Mr Smith told the inquest, for reference, that the legal drink-drive limit is 80 milligrammes.

In summing up, Mr Smith said: “The evidence I have suggests that on November 2 last year, Mr Gibson discovered a wasp in his bedroom.

“He was concerned that this might indicate the presence of a nest and given his history of allergy it is clear that this troubled him.

“He was last seen around 12 midday on November 2 when he was expressing an intention to look for the possible nest later that day.”

He continued: “(When he was later found) I am told that there is clear evidence of a head injury.

“Adjacent to him, and at a somewhat rakish angle, was what was described as a fallen ladder.

“There was evidence of blood staining on the ground, consistent with a fall. CPR was immediately attempted and the emergency services were summoned, but sadly despite their arrival his life was pronounced extinct.”

Mr Smith added that Mr Gibson’s balance may not have been aided by his choice of footwear, as it is understood he was wearing slippers at the time of the incident.

He said that a combination of the untreated anaphylactic shock and the subsequent fall from the ladder led to Mr Gibson’s death, with both of them likely to have played a ‘causative role in his death which ensued’.

Mr Smith concluded that Mr Gibson’s death was a ‘tragic accident’.