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Landlord in shock at death of one of his customers who choked while eating a steak

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 03, 2014

Ben McCullough has spoken about the death of one of his customers who choked on a piece of steak

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SHOCKED landlord Ben McCullough is struggling to deal with the death of one of his customers who choked on a four-and-a-half-inch piece of meat at The Fountain Inn.

Hairdresser Alan Lobban, 61, was on a night out with a friend at the pub in Westgate Street on Saturday when he began choking on his steak dinner.

Ben, who is Gloucester’s youngest publican at 23, was forced to clear the packed pub and dialled 999 for help. Emergency operators talked him through first aid over the phone until paramedics arrived, but their efforts to save Mr Lobban were in vain.

He died at the scene just after 9pm.

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Ben, who has been behind the bar at The Fountain for just six months, offered his condolences to his family and said his staff were still coming to terms with the tragic incident.

“I dialled the emergency services as soon as I realised something was wrong and asked everyone to clear the pub,” he said.

“The 999 operator talked me through what first aid I needed to do step by step to help Mr Lobban. We got him on to the floor as he had stopped breathing. It was then I had a tap on the shoulder and thankfully it was the paramedics arriving who took over.

“They started CPR and I carried on helping with the chest compressions. All of the staff and the customers were very supportive and did what was asked of them, the pub was full at the time.

“It was a big shock to have something like that happen. I didn’t know Mr Lobban, but I had seen him around the city. On the night, he was jolly and friendly and seemed to be having a good time. It is very sad. We have had lots of calls this week asking after him.

“Everyone at The Fountain would like to offer our deepest sympathies to his family.”

A spokesman from the South West Ambulance Service said they were called to The Fountain at 9.03pm on Saturday, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Acting coroner David Dooley formally opened and adjourned an inquest into Mr Lobban’s death.

Inverness-born Mr Lobban lived in Arthur street, Gloucester. His body was formally identified by his friend Glenys Ashmead in the pub shortly after his death.

Dr John McCarthy gave cause of death as asphyxia due to obstruction of the pharynx by a piece of steak meat.

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  • thestig2  |  April 04 2014, 7:34PM

    I thought all company's had to have at least a first aid trained staff member on site when open.

    |   2
  • emdia43  |  April 04 2014, 3:47PM

    No one in the pub, employees or customers knew how to do the Heimlich maneuver or CPR?

    |   1
  • SimonSkinner  |  April 03 2014, 10:21PM

    Sad news and my condolences go to his family but 2 things, 1-you could have used a better picture, not one of the landlord smiling (when you are reporting tragic news) 2- Choked on a four-and-a-half-inch piece of meat? You mean a piece of meat that was cut from this. Citizen-these are basic editing errors, you really should be getting this stuff right.

    |   18