Stress and poor diet also factors

ROBIN RAYMOND
Last updated 08:26 13/02/2013

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The brother of Invercargill woman Natasha Harris, who died of a heart attack after drinking up to 10 bottles of Coke a day, says it wasn't just the Coke that killed her.  

In findings released yesterday coroner David Crerar said Ms Harris would not have died on February 25, 2010 if it wasn't for her dependence on Coke. 

Mr Crerar estimated Ms Harris drank up to 10 litres of Coke every day - consuming more than twice the recommended safe daily limit of caffeine and almost one kilogram of sugar, which along with her other health issues killed her.

However, her half brother Brett Duffy, of Seddon, said  pointing the finger at Coke ignored the underlying issues that brought on her addiction. His sister was sick and not eating properly when she died and the Coke was an addiction to deal with the stress of her relationship with her partner and looking after her eight children, he said.

''The original pathologist's report said she was malnourished. It's all very well for the coroner to say if she hadn't drunk the Coke she wouldn't have died, but if she had been able to eat properly the Coke probably wouldn't have contributed to her death.

At the end of the day it wasn't just the Coke that killed her.''  

He and his family had not been aware the coroner's inquest was under way and he would have liked to give evidence, he said. He was concerned Ms Harris' partner and his family would try to exploit the process.The verdict would not bring him any closure and he did not think it would make much of a difference to Coke drinkers, either. 

''It's not going to bring Natasha back and I personally don't think it's going to make anybody else drink more or less Coke.''

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- The Marlborough Express

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