Rotherhams chef may have had seizure

18:02, Jul 08 2014
Martin Weiss
Rotherhams owner and chef Martin Weiss died suddenly at home on October 28, aged 47.

Restaurateur Martin Weiss' wife pulled him from their swimming pool after he drowned while intoxicated and incapacitated by a probable seizure, a coroner found.

Cynthia Weiss found her well-known chef husband, who owned Rotherhams of Riccarton, dead in the bottom of the pool after returning home from lunch.

She pulled him to the surface and unsuccessfully tried to revive him.

Rotherhams of Riccarton restaurant closed after the death of owner and chef Martin Weiss.

Coroner Richard McElrea released his findings today into the 47-year-old's death at his Harewood home last October.

McElrea  found the cause of death was immersion and drowning from two ''significant contributing features''.

Weiss was intoxicated and had struggled with alcohol but was addressing it, the report said.


An autopsy found he had an intra-cerebral arterio-venous malformation (AVM), something he was unaware of.

Weiss had experienced ''at least one recent seizure probably related to this lesion,'' Coroner McElrea said.

''His AVM condition, not known in his lifetime and resultant seizure activity is the likely explanation for his incapacity leading to drowning, although alcohol intoxication is a plausible although less likely explanation,'' McElrea said.

Cynthia Weiss last saw her husband alive at their home about 1.30pm on October 28, the report said.

She went out for lunch with one of their two daughters, Madelaine and Claudia.

"Nothing seemed out of the ordinary," McElrea's report said.

When she arrived home at 4pm, she noticed the pool cover was off.

"It was a hot day and she thought that her husband must have taken the cover off for the girls to have a swim," the report said.

"She expected that he would be sitting reading, waiting for the family to come home."

Instead, she noticed a dark object at the bottom of the pool and realised it was her husband.

She called out to her daughter and then got into the pool and pulled her husband to the surface.

"With one daughter on the phone to the ambulance, the other daughter assisted her in getting Martin Weiss out of the pool onto the concrete," the report said.

"Mrs Weiss commenced mouth-to-mouth CPR and continued until ambulance staff arrived. He could not be revived."

At the Coroner's hearing, Cynthia Weiss said her husband struggled with alcohol but would "pull himself back into check".

He had a passion for wine and was a high achiever.

He was active, playing squash three to four times a week and tennis once or twice a week.

"She said they had a lot of good times," the report said.

Martin Weiss had not had a drink before she left for lunch, and it would be unusual for him to drink wine in the afternoon, she told the hearing.

''There was some background of alcohol misuse but he had a good awareness of it and had addressed issues arising [from it]," McElrea said.

"[His] death was unintended."

Rotherhams of Riccarton has since been sold.

A new venture, Riccarton Bar and Kitchen, is due to open in the Rotherham St building.

The Press