An inquest into the sudden death of a woman has heard that she drank up to 8 litres of Coke a day for years.
Natasha Marie Harris, 30, died suddenly on February 25, 2010. Her partner, Christopher Hodgkinson, had earlier claimed it was a result of drinking too much Coca-Cola.
Hodgkinson told the hearing in Invercargill this morning that she had been unwell leading up to her death and had no energy but the idea Coca-Cola caused the problem had never crossed their minds.
"I didn't ever think about the Coke. I never considered it would do any harm to a person. It's a soft drink ... I didn't think a drink's going to kill you,'' he said.
She had been drinking a lot of Coca-Cola for several years and Hodgkinson estimated between 4.5 and 8 litres a day in the past seven or eight years.
Vivien Hodgkinson, Christopher's mother, said she would go "crazy'' if she ran out of the drink.
Pathologist doctor Dan Mornin said he was of the opinion Harris had died of cardiac arrhythmia.
It was likely she was suffering from hypokalemia (low potassium) at the time of her death along with caffeine toxicity, which would have contributed to her death.
Mr Crerar asked Dr Mornin if it was probable the consumption of Coca-Cola was the cause of the hypokalemia and arrhythmia and he responded yes, along with poor nutrition and caffeine.
In June last year Coca-Cola confirmed it had hired a security firm to shadow its staff, after Christopher Hodgkinson allegedly made death threats against the company.
He rejected claims he had made the threats, but said he held the company responsible for Harris' death.
Coca-Cola Amatil New Zealand managing director George Adams said at the time that Hodgkinson's claims were "patently untrue''.
Coroner David Crerar said he would notify each party when he had completed his formal written findings.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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