Mum Linda Smart’s agony at son Ashley’s fatal $1000 Liquorland vodka binge in Footscray, Melbourne

A heartbroken mother has revealed how her son drank himself to death in a lethal booze binge after staff at a local bottle shop kept selling him alcohol.

Ashley Smart died alone at home and was undiscovered for days after downing 11 bottles of vodka in 10 days, and 25 bottles in a month, in an epic drinking spree.

Now his devastated mother Linda Smart is demanding a change in the law to try to prevent a repeat. 

Bank statements revealed how Mr Smart repeatedly returned to the same Liquorland store in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray to buy two bottles of vodka at a time.

His mother confronted him at his home the last time she saw him.

Heartbroken mother Linda Smart has revealed how her son Ashley drank himself to death in a lethal booze binge

‘He was very, very drunk. He came home with a bottle,’ she told ABC’s 7.30.

‘I said to him, “Ashley, why? Why did you buy it?” And he says, “Mum, they sell it to me. They don’t care.”

‘I left him about 4.30. He turned his computer off at 6pm and he never woke up.’

Bank statements from Ashley Smart

Bank statements from Ashley Smart

 His mother found his lifeless body four days later, after he missed his grandfather’s funeral.

‘He hadn’t been in touch,’ she said. 

‘I had my father’s funeral on the Thursday and on the Friday, I rushed to Ashley’s place because I was worried.

‘He’d been there four days and I couldn’t stay with him. I’d always promised I would, but I couldn’t stay with him in that state.’

Ms Smart claims staff at the local bottle shop had continued to sell him the non-stop supply of vodka, despite him often allegedly being drunk at the time.

‘He was never ever refused service of alcohol,’ she said. 

‘Right up until the day he died – he bought a bottle the day he died and he was served. 

‘I watched him being sold alcohol on many occasions when drunk and I couldn’t intervene and ask them to stop selling.

‘It breaks my heart.’

Ashley Smart (right) died alone at home and was undiscovered for days after downing 11 bottles of vodka in 10 days, and 25 bottles in a month, after an epic drinking spree

Ashley Smart (right) died alone at home and was undiscovered for days after downing 11 bottles of vodka in 10 days, and 25 bottles in a month, after an epic drinking spree

Bank statements reveal how Ashley Smart repeatedly returned to the same Melbourne Liquorland store in Footscray to buy two bottles of vodka at a time

Bank statements reveal how Ashley Smart repeatedly returned to the same Melbourne Liquorland store in Footscray to buy two bottles of vodka at a time

Sarah Jackson of Alcohol Change Victoria has called for a ban on alcohol sales to alcoholics.

‘We think that legislation should introduce a duty of care so that a licensee has to take reasonable steps to prevent harm to its customers,’ she said.

Ms Smart added: ‘We’ve got this massive drinking culture, just like America’s got the gun culture, but we don’t see it the same.

‘We’re not prepared to change at all, we’re not prepared to put down our beers or our vodkas because there’s too much money involved.’

Linda Smart claims staff at the local bottle shop had continued to sell him the non-stop supply of vodka, despite him often allegedly being drunk at the time

Linda Smart claims staff at the local bottle shop had continued to sell him the non-stop supply of vodka, despite him often allegedly being drunk at the time

Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission said it’s ‘best practice’ was for an inspector to witness a sale to a drunk customer. 

Ms Smart was told they had reviewed silent CCTV footage of Mr Smart’s final purchase in January 2021  but he did not appear drunk at the time of the sale.

A statement from VGCCC chair Fran Thomson added: ‘We were unable to establish a breach of the Act based on the available evidence.

‘Amending the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 is a matter for government. 

‘We acknowledge this is a tragic set of circumstances and we extend our deepest sympathies to Ms Smart and her family.’

Mother Linda Smart found her son Ashley Smart's lifeless body four days later, after he missed his grandfather's funeral

Mother Linda Smart found her son Ashley Smart’s lifeless body four days later, after he missed his grandfather’s funeral

Coles Liquor, which owns Liquorland, said its staff had acted responsibly.

‘All our store team members undertake industry leading training in the responsible service of alcohol,’ a spokesperson said. 

‘We have robust and comprehensive processes and procedures in place to ensure alcohol is sold responsibly and team members undertake extensive safety and refusal of service training.’

Last October, an investigation was launched into the death of a 49-year-old NSW man who reportedly spent $24,000 on booze in three years with alcohol delivery service Jimmy Brings.

Despite daily orders in the weeks leading up to his death, the probe found no laws had been breached.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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