A millionaire BBC television presenter accidentally suffocated himself to death in a solo sex game that went horribly wrong. Kristian Digby, host of BBC1's daytime property show To Buy Or Not To Buy, was found with a plastic bin liner over his head in his east London home, an inquest was told Monday.
The 32-year-old Digby, a homosexual and a dyslexic, also presented Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, and he lived alone in his two-bedroom house. He was apparently starving himself of oxygen deliberately to heighten sexual arousal.
The extremely dangerous practice of auto-erotic asphyxiation is said to increase sexual pleasure, and participants employ masks, ligatures or even plastic bags to achieve the desired effect.
The body was discovered on March 1 this year.
Dr Benjamin Swift who carried out the post-mortem on Kristian, told the Walthamstow Coroner's Court that he found no injuries to show tht Mr Digby might have been forcibly hooded with the bin liner.
The BBC presenter's body had been found next to a canister of ethyl chloride - a 'volatile compound' with pleasure-enhancing effects similar to amyl nitrate.
Dr Swift said: "Ethyl chloride is a local anaesthetic which can be used as a spray to anaesthetise an area. It has been reported as being inhaled to heighten the effects of pleasure."
However the toxicology tests carried out on Mr Digby gave no indication that the man had been drinking or ingesting any drugs - including the sex aid spray.
He continued: 'After a few minutes [following the placement of the bag] when the amount of air you are breathing in the bag diminishes you will lose consciousness.
Following the death, Metropolitan Police officers investigated to see if Kristian was a victim of foul play, but found no evidence to suggest that, the court heard.
Questioning Detective Inspector Lee Barnard, Dr Stearns said: "Several people contacted police, people he had been friends with over the years, or met through the internet.
"In essence, as I understand it, he had developed an interest in autoerotic asphyxiation recently.
"I have to conclude that Kristian has died as a result of an intended act, namely placing a plastic bag over his head as part of some sexual experimentation, but did not at any point believe or intend that should lead to his death.
"Air entrance into the bag would have been certainly diminished. I give the cause of death as plastic bag asphyxia."
A verdict of death by misadventure was recorded.
Despite being condemned by police and medical experts, auto-erotic asphyxiation continues to claim lives.
Kill Bill film star David Carradine and INXS singer Michael Hutchence died in similar circumstances, although questions remain over their final moments.