A BRADFORD man who consumed almost two bottles of brandy during a drinking binge with friends on the night before his sister’s wedding died after he misjudged the toxicity of the alcohol, an inquest heard.

Umar Aziz was found unresponsive on the back seat of his car several hours after telling friends he wanted to sleep off the effects of his drinking.

A large amount of money, said to be £6,000 to pay for jewellery for his sister on her wedding day, was missing from him and has not been found.

After “a desperately very, very sad” inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court Senior Coroner Martin Fleming gave a narrative verdict in which he concluded that the 35-year-old father-of-four succumbed to an “alcohol-related death”.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Senior Coroner Martin FlemingSenior Coroner Martin Fleming (Image: Newsquest)

But the friends who left him in his car “could and should have done more to look after him". 

Inquest hears how the night unfolded 

The inquest heard that Mr Aziz, of Beamsley Walk, Manningham, locked his takeaway business at about 11pm on Saturday, May 22, 2021, and made his way to a car lot in a compound to meet friends.

He was seen on CCTV arriving in his car at 11.36pm. He was met by a friend and both went inside a portable cabin where they and several others would socialise together over drinks.

Camera footage from the scene provided “an accurate outline” of what occurred over the next few hours.

The inquest heard that Mr Aziz gave a friend two £20 notes in order to buy two 35cl bottles of Hennessy brandy. He was seen returning with them at 1.52am.

Mr Aziz was then said to have sipped neat brandy from a plastic cup, consuming one-and-a-half bottles.

He was seen on CCTV being carried out of the portacabin at 2.18am and being placed on a chair in an intoxicated state.

His friends, who had also been drinking and smoking cannabis, were seen taking photographs and videoing him on their phones “for harmless fun” as he was sick, with one seen pouring something into his mouth from a Lucozade bottle.

Many of the photographs and videos were later deleted. Mr Aziz’s friends claimed this was at the request of the police, though police officers denied it.

His friends said Mr Aziz drank the alcohol as part of a “jurmana”, which they described as meaning “a treat”.

They said the term did not refer to a forfeiture or penalty and denied coercing or forcing him to do it.

At 3.02 am on Sunday, May 23, Mr Aziz was placed on the back set of his car to sleep off the effects. His friends left the compound at 3.29am.

Almost nine hours later two friends returned to the locked compound and found Mr Aziz unresponsive in his car. They conducted CPR pending the arrival of paramedics who rushed him to hospital where he died at 2.42pm.

He was found to have 330cl of alcohol in 1,000ml of blood, putting him more than four times over the drink-drive limit, which the coroner said represented “fatal quantities” of alcohol.

He passed away from “acute alcohol intoxication” which led to depression, coma, and death.

Verdict of alcohol-related death

Mr Fleming said it was not possible to say whether earlier medical intervention would have saved Mr Aziz’s life but that “it would have been preferable”.

He added: “Without doubt Mr Aziz’s friends could and should have done more to look after him.”

Friends of Mr Aziz who gave evidence at the inquest said he had been “lively and jumpy” and had made no mention of his sister’s forthcoming wedding or the £6,000 he had on his person.

They said he provided the money to buy the two bottles of spirits, and that when he was left in the car at his own request after trying and failing to book a hotel room they had “no reason to be concerned for his welfare”.

The inquest heard that at no stage was Mr Aziz put under pressure or duress to drink alcohol, was not egged on, and that there was no “drinking game” taking place.

One friend said it “was not unusual” to see him drink so heavily.

The coroner said there were inconsistencies in the men’s accounts with some described as being “evasive”. One man caught on CCTV “sounded like he was being aggressive”.

Police arrested several men after Mr Aziz’s death, but no charges were brought as the evidential test was not met.

Recording a narrative verdict of alcohol-related death Mr Fleming said Mr Aziz voluntarily drank the brandy and that there was no evidence to show he had been physically forced to do so.

He said there was no evidence to suggest he was subject to a jurmana that placed him under pressure to drink. Instead, he said it was “entirely consensual and consistent with … binge drinking.”

He said Mr Aziz had misjudged the toxicity of the alcohol “with fatal unexpected consequences”.

He offered his condolences to Mr Aziz’s family, many of whom were present in court, and said: “To lose your beloved son, husband, and father in unexpected circumstances must be very hard for you to bear.”