'Special and gentle' Littlehampton man, 29, died suddenly in his sleep

James Phocas died suddenly in his sleep
James Phocas died suddenly in his sleep

A ‘special and gentle’ Littlehampton man died suddenly in his sleep and was found by his grandfather when trying to wake him for dinner.

James ‘Jamie’ Phocas was 29 years old when died in January this year, but a post-mortem report said the cause of death was ‘unascertained’.

An inquest into his death was held at Centenary House in Crawley today.

Coroner’s officer John Halloran said: “The grandparents of Jamie Phocas found him face down unresponsive on his bed at about 3pm.

“Paramedics arrived at 3.20pm but sadly declared death at 3.25pm.”

Found lying unresponsive by his grandfather

He had gone to his room to play on his PlayStation and was found unresponsive by his grandfather when he came to get him for dinner, the inquest heard.

Jamie, who lived in Arundel Drive in Wick, suffered with a tremor for many years.

A Sussex Police investigation found no suspicious circumstances and no evidence of trauma or other injury.

'A gentleman in the most true sense of the word'

Jamie’s mum Deborah Curtin said: “James did not smoke, rarely drank and never took drugs. He went to sleep and just never woke up.

“James was beloved by all those who knew him.

He was a gentleman in the most true sense of the word, would do anything for anyone and didn't have a nasty bone in his body.”

Jamie left behind a loving mother, grandparents, four siblings and a baby nephew he never got the chance to meet.

“He was truly a special, gentle person with the most wonderful sense of humour. To say he will be missed is such an understatement.”

Coroner: I do not want to scaremonger

Assistant coroner Karen Harold said: “I am obviously concerned about what happened to Jamie.

“It is clear to me that Jamie died in his sleep while staying with his grandparents.

“There is no evidence of trauma or injuries to suggest any form of unnatural death.”

She said that the most likely cause of death is a ‘sudden cardiac event’, otherwise known as Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS).

For more information about SADS, visit the Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) charity’s website.
Ms Harrold urged other members of Jamie’s family to get themselves tested to see if they could be at risk too.

“I do not want to scaremonger but I think it is good to get everybody checked.

“It can be dreadfully difficult to lose people under these circumstances but the proactive thing to do is to test yourself and your other children.”