Reformed life ended by binge drinking

VICTIM TO ALCOHOL: Corey William Mackle, 35, died after Friday night drinks at his Kaiapoi workplace.
VICTIM TO ALCOHOL: Corey William Mackle, 35, died after Friday night drinks at his Kaiapoi workplace.

A night of after-work drinking to ''wind down'' ended tragically for a Christchurch man when he died in an office sleeping it off.

Corey William Mackle's family spoke yesterday of their disbelief at the 35-year-old's death, saying he rarely drank to excess.

They hope their loss will serve as a warning to others about the dangers of binge drinking.

Mackle, a father of four young children, was found dead by a workmate in the early hours of Saturday, June 8.

Staff at the Kaiapoi drainage company said he had been drinking since the previous afternoon. About 8pm, Mackle's colleagues put him to bed in an office with blankets and continued drinking.

Sergeant Colin Stewart said a workmate checked on Mackle twice in the night, ''which is what mates do''.

However, when he was checked a second time, he was dead. Police were notified about 5am.

Stewart said alcohol was believed to be a factor in Mackle's death.

Mackle's family said his death was ''tragic'' after he had turned his life around since moving to Christchurch.

Mackle, a former Lone Legion Motorcycle Club member, was one of four men accused of murdering Carl MacDonald outside the gang's Blenheim headquarters in September 2007.

James Harvey was found guilty, but Mackle and two others were acquitted after a 2008 jury trial.

Alicia Beavis said her brother left Blenheim to ''start fresh'' and was focused on providing for his family when he died. He lived in Harewood with his partner and their four children, aged 6 to 10.

Gaynor Mackle said her son rarely drank. However, when he did drink, it was ''often to excess''.

''This is a common situation for many New Zealanders,'' she said.  

''[He] was having some after work drinks to celebrate a hard week of work. He drank to excess and eventually had to be put to bed to sleep it off. Sadly, he did not wake up.

''This goes to show that tragic situations can happen to anyone when alcohol is put into the mix.''

Beavis said the family had been told Mackle had vomited in his sleep, and a small piece got into his lungs.

''That's how easy it was. It was just a freak accident - having a few drinks after work to wind down and something bad happens,'' she said.

She said her brother's death had made her more cautious about drinking even small amounts.

''We just can't believe it happened,'' she said.  

The drain company director did not return calls yesterday.

Gaynor Mackle said while it was ''more than likely'' alcohol had a part to play in her son's death, they were yet to learn if it was the sole cause.

''We are viewing this as an opportunity for others to examine how they are drinking, and become aware of the dangers of excessive alcohol intake,'' Gaynor Mackle said.

The Press