Coke didn't kill my sister, grieving brother says

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 11:30 01/05/2012

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Coca-Cola did not kill his sister, says Brett Duffy of Seddon.

Last week a pathologist told an Invercargill inquest that Natasha Harris, 30, died of cardiac arrhythmia, agreeing with a coroner that her daily Coca-Cola consumption of between 4.5 and 8 litres had possibly contributed to it.

Mr Duffy said his half-sister's partner and her partner's mother, Chris and Vivien Hodgkinson, were pushing the argument that drinking too much Coca-Cola caused her death.

But he said he thought his sister died in February 2010 because she was malnourished and drank Coke to escape the stress of looking after eight children and her relationship with her partner, Mr Duffy said.

One of the hardest things this former Assembly of God minister had done was to lead his sister's funeral service.

The Natasha he knew was stunningly beautiful, fun-loving, bubbly and intelligent but started to go downhill after getting together with Chris when she was a teenager, Mr Duffy said.

"The sister I buried was very gaunt and very sad.

"This is not a family vendetta but I don't want her remembered as a freak who died from drinking too much Coca-Cola."

In April, Mr Hodgkinson was remanded in custody after pleading guilty to burglary, injuring with intent to injure and assault with a weapon (a knife) stemming from an incident in Invercargill on October 5 last year.

He also admitted charges of possession of cannabis oil and intentional damage from March 7.

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- The Marlborough Express

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