Ramsay chef may have died in grip of cocaine 'paranoia'

  • Wednesday 24 September 2003

Gordon Ramsay's head chef who died after falling from a window ledge may have suffered an unusual reaction to cocaine, the inquest into his death heard yesterday.

David Dempsey, 31, who was described by Ramsay as 'most gifted' died in May after falling from a second-storey window into a basement in a London block of flats.

He had broken into the block and rampaged through it, smashing windows and threatening one of the occupants when challenged.

Yesterday the inquest heard Dempsey, who had told another chef, 'I did a bit of charlie (cocaine) earlier', may have been suffering from a syndrome called 'excited delirium', brought on by prolonged use of cocaine.

An expert on cocaine and ecstasy told the inquest victims could become confused, paranoid and suffer hallucinations. According to a report in an American medical journal, sufferers often showed aggression to objects, particularly glass.

A verdict of accidental was recorded. The coroner said he was satisfied Dempsey had taken cocaine.

The incident earlier this year highlighted the widespread use of drugs in hotel and restaurant kitchens. Michelin-starred Ramsay, one of the most celebrated chefs in the UK, said he would like to introduce drugs tests on all new staff in his kitchens.

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