A MAN died of acute alcohol poisoning after downing a pint of vodka in four seconds, an inquest heard.

Richard Davies had been drinking with friends when he decided to drink the spirit in one go, despite attempts to stop him.

The 29-year-old, of Lincoln Place, Thornaby, near Stockton, fell into a drunken stupor and his friend decided to take him home to sleep off the effects of the alcohol.

Tragically, the amount of alcohol he had consumed meant he slipped into unconsciousness and was found dead hours later.

Teesside Coroner’s Court heard how the electrician’s mate was five-and-a-half times over the legal drinkdrive limit and his body contained traces of legal highs including mephedrone, which has since been banned.

Mr Davies’ best friend Christopher Crooks told the coroner’s court how he desperately attempted to save his life after he was found unconscious in a pool of blood.

In a statement read out by deputy Teesside coroner Tony Eastwood, he said: “Richard drank a pint of vodka in four seconds or so. I did try to take the glass off him, but he turned his back on me, pushed me away and drank it all.”

Mr Crooks said they had been drinking at a friend’s house when he decided to take Mr Davies to his stepfather’s house in nearby Cobden Street.

After putting his friend in the recovery position, Mr Crooks returned to the friend’s house and left his stepfather, John Brocklesby, to keep a eye on Mr Davies.

Mr Brocklesby discovered Mr Davies unconscious and not breathing at about 4.30pm on Saturday, January 16.

Mr Crooks rushed back to the house and attempted to resuscitate his friend until paramedics arrived and took over, but Mr Davies was dead before they arrived.

Pathologist Jan Lowe said Mr Davies had an alcohol blood level of 458mg/100ml, the equivalent of drinking 13 pints of lager.

He said: “The level of alcohol is sufficient to have killed him of acute alcohol poisoning.”

Recording a verdict of misadventure, deputy coroner Tony Eastwood said it was the level of alcohol in his system that killed him and the legal high was not a contributing factor.