Emmerdale actor died hours after hospital discharged him, inquest hears


An Emmerdale actor died hours after being sent home from hospital, an inquest heard today, 20 January. Toby Kirkup, who had also worked on Peaky Blinders, was 48 when he passed away at home after attending Huddersfield Royal Infirmary with pains in his chest and tingling in his arms.
Toby Kirkup was admitted to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on August 29 2020 before being diagnosed with gastritis and sent home the same day. An inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court was told Mr Kirkup’s family wanted a coroner to investigate his death because they believed he had been “wrongly diagnosed” and that the focus had been on his stomach pain rather than chest pain.
Part of the statement his family gave at the virtual hearing said that Mr Kirkup had used drink and drugs, starting in university, but had been “clean” for ten years before his death. The family believed the diagnosis had been based on “a perception of excessive alcohol and drug use” and questioned why Mr Kirkup was “sent home with lifestyle advice and told to get some Gaviscon”, an over-the-counter indigestion medicine.
Just over a week before his death, Mr Kirkup had celebrated his birthday with “use of recreational drugs and alcohol”, the inquest was told. But it was not this that was named as the cause of why the Emmerdale actor died, as pathologist Dr Karen Ramsden said Mr Kirkup suffered from bleeding caused by a ruptured aortic arch aneurysm. She added: “I don’t think we can prove that chronic cocaine usage was the cause.”
Dr Robert Palin, who attended Mr Kirkup at A&E, said that the actor did not mention the chest pain to him when being assessed. Dr Palin told the hearing that additional tests, including an electrocardiogram, did not change his mind that the cause of the discomfort was gastritis and that Mr Kirkup’s drink and drug use “didn’t affect my reasoning at all”.
Dr Thomas Davies produced a review that stated the aneurysm “probably” was present while the actor was at the hospital, but that it would probably also have been “undetectable”. The conclusion of the inquest was that the Emmerdale actor died of natural causes and the hospital was not at fault.
Assistant coroner Ian Pears said: “It’s quite clear that cardia procedures were followed. I am not critical of anything that has taken place at the hospital and I understand the reason for the discharge. It is one of those things, unfortunately, that the condition has then ruptured and become a terminal event.”

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Claire Gordon

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