A SPEECH and language therapist has told an inquiry into the death of a Greenock care home resident that it is not possible to identify the kind of food he choked on before passing away.

Robert McPaul died at Sir Gabriel Wood’s Mariners’ Home in March 2018 after he was served a steak pie meal which was unsuitable for his dietary requirements.

The fatal accident inquiry (FAI) previously heard that the 70-year-old had been placed on a textured diet following previous choking incidents.

Giving evidence via video link on Tuesday, a speech and language therapist who compiled a report in the wake of Mr McPaul’s death noted that pastry contained in the dish was not in line with his fork-mashed diet.

She explained that puff pasty is categorised as a ‘bread product’ which requires ‘as many chewing cycles as peanuts’.

READ MORE: Robert McPaul FAI begins at Greenock Sheriff Court

While some textured diets will allow for consumption of bread, the therapist said this would be decided on an individual basis – and that there was no evidence that bread was an exception for Mr McPaul.

The witness added: “It is not possible to identify the material that cause the obstruction.

“However, in my opinion, it is possible that the item was puff pastry.

“It is possible it was an item of food Mr McPaul pocketed in his mouth.”

Earlier this year, the inquiry heard that Mr McPaul was due to be served a chicken paella dish on the day he died, but was mistakenly given steak pie.

(Image: Newsquest)

Two carers were present when he ‘grabbed’ a piece of food with his hand and placed it in his mouth before he started to choke.

Previous evidence also noted that Mr McPaul was prone to eating too quickly and overfilling his mouth, posing a risk of choking.

The speech and language therapist said: “In my opinion, it would have been unlikely that the two staff members in the canteen at the time would have been able to supervise Mr McPaul adequately for the duration of his meal.”

READ MORE: Robert McPaul FAI hears evidence from care assistant 

She said that had there been more staff present, she would have expected them to notice ‘quite quickly’ that the meal was unsuitable.

The inquiry heard that textured diets are not an ‘exact science’ and that they are dependent on the individual and a number of other factors.

(Image: Newsquest)

Following Mr McPaul’s death, a colour coded plate system was implemented at the home to help staff distinguish between different types of meals.

Asked if she would expect any other changes to be made, the witness said: “I might expect that the meal is checked in terms of what is on the plate as well, just in case that colour coded plate was provided in error.

“I would expect a check by the chef and another check from the staff.”

The fatal accident inquiry before Sheriff Sheena Fraser is due to continue on July 18.