UK
12/12/2011 08:03 GMT

Robert Trigg Accidentally 'Smothered Girlfriend To Death' By Rolling Over In His Sleep

A man killed his girlfriend by rolling on top of her and smothering her in his sleep, an inquest has heard.

After Robert Trigg, 47, and Susan Nicholson, 52, fell asleep snuggled up on the sofa, the 13-stone former chef shifted in his sleep and suffocated his partner to death.

When he woke up his partner was still warm, but she had died during the night. Home Office pathologist Dr Simon Paul ruled that 8-stone Nicholson could have died in as little as 15 seconds.

Trigg told West Sussex Coroner Michael Kendall: “I went to bed at about midnight. She was on the sofa and I asked her if she was coming (to bed).

“But she said 'Let's snuggle in, let's crash here together'. So I slept on the sofa with her.

“It was relatively narrow but we had slept in it 40 times before. We didn't have a bed for five weeks when we first moved in and it became common practice.

“I would often sleep on my side or find myself on the floor."

The post mortem showed pinpoint haemorrhages in one of her eyes, her face, neck and upper chest which were consistent with external pressure. The inside of Nicholson’s lips had indentations showing that they had been pressed against the teeth.

Coroner Michael Kendall recorded an accidental verdict:

"There is no evidence whatsoever that that was part of an altercation, violence or an incident of aggression of any kind.

"We cannot be sure precisely how Mr Trigg came to lie across Susan's face but the evidence is that he did and that immediately caused the death."