Man found dead in caravan had been huffing

GONE: Simon Garrick in October 2012.
GONE: Simon Garrick in October 2012.

A Dunedin man whose badly decomposed body was discovered in a caravan in a Cromwell holiday park died due to a mishap while ''huffing'' gas.

Coroner David Crerar's report in to the death of Simon James Garrick found the 42-year-old died in a caravan at the Top 10 Holiday park some time between October 30, 2012 and October 10 last year.

Garrick was missing for more than a year and his disappearance sparked a police homicide inquiry in Central Otago, including an offer of a $20,000 reward.

Simon Garrick in 2008.
Simon Garrick in 2008.

He was last seen alive in Dunedin on October 30, 2012.

Cellphone activity stopped then and he had spent $1700 shortly before his disappearance, an amount considered out of character.

The cause of death was asphyxiation due to inhaling LPG gas.

The owner of the caravan discovered the body and police found three 9kg gas canisters, one of which was in front of Garrick's face with a tube attached.

The digger driver was known to have a significant drug habit, including intravenous use, methadone use and methamphetamine and cannabis.

''Shortly after he was last seen alive, Garrick has broken into a stored caravan and after consuming food and living there for an unknown period, he has arranged to ''huff'' LPG.

''I draw to public attention the dangers of recreational substance abuse and specifically the huffing of LPG or similar gases. LPG in the lungs is incompatible with life,'' the coroner said.

The coroner's report said Garrick probably died not long after he was last seen in Dunedin.

He had been working in Central Otago.

The Southland Times