A “LOVELY, intelligent human being” died in a bizarre act of sado-masochism in a village near Truro, an inquest heard.
The 41-year-old man was found in a black rubber suit and wearing a gas mask with electrical wires attached to his groin area.
The man was already dead when he was discovered by his landlord at a house in Probus on a “throne-type chair”.
The West Briton has chosen not to publish the man’s name in order to protect his family from further attention.
The inquest at Truro City Hall heard evidence from landlord Colin Hedger who found the man’s body after he failed to get up on the morning of May 29 last year.
Mr Hedger said: “I put my head around the door to see if he was asleep. The sight that greeted me will stay with me a long time.
“He was sitting on a throne-type chair in his black rubber suit and had a gas mask over his face and there were some electrical wires going towards his crotch region.”
Mr Hedger said the room was incredibly hot.
He said: “I pulled the gas mask off and realised something was wrong.”
Mr Hedger told the inquest he called 999 immediately and the Cornwall Air Ambulance paramedics were on the scene within minutes but said the man had passed away.
Mr Hedger told the hearing he had known his tenant for two years and was aware of his interest in sado-masochistic sex.
He said: “He liked to be a submissive. He liked to have things done to him and he had a particular interest in breath play - constricting the breathing so it gives you a rush.”
Mr Hedger told the inquest he had previously seen the man in his rubber suit a couple of times and was not concerned for his safety.
He said: “From what I gather he was practicing this from his early 20s so he was very experienced.”
Mr Hedger described his tenant as someone who went to work every day “like clockwork” but had become more reclusive in the last six months.
The inquest heard evidence from the dead man’s partner, Ashley Vandershouw, who said she was aware of the man’s interest in sado-masochism but was not aware of his activities on the night in question.
She said: “I expressed concerns over his safety and he reassured me that he knew what he was doing.”
Ms Vandershouw described the man as someone who was “very committed to his job” and as a “lovely, organised, intelligent human being”.
Russell Delaney, a Home Office forensic pathologist, told the inquest there were no signs of restraint or assault and gave the cause of death as cardiac arrest.
He said: “The combined mechanisms by which he had sought to deprive his brain of oxygen did do that and that led to the cardiac arrest.”
Barrie van Den Berg, assistant coroner for Cornwall, recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.
He said the man “had no idea of the consequences” and described his death as “an absolute tragedy”.
The coroner told the family: “I accept entirely that he was a very nice man who led a good life and you are all going to suffer immensely by his loss.”