Mum's heartbreak as man, 24, died of cardiac arrest as nearby defibrillator was locked away

  • Watch Max Walsh's report

The family of a 24-year-old man who died from a cardiac arrest during a night out in Bristol say he may have survived if he had access to a defibrillator.

Sam Polledri, who is the younger brother of Gloucester and Italy rugby player Jake Polledri, died in February after collapsing in Millennium Square.

Friends who were with him at the time were unable to use any of the nearby defibrillators due to them being unregistered and locked away inside buildings.

On the night Sam died, his mum Louise received a call from paramedics at around 11pm telling her to go to Bristol Royal Infirmary. Sam died before he could get to hospital.

Louise, Sam's mum, says life without him "will never be the same". Credit: ITV

Louise told ITV News West Country: "Sam phoned me and I answered the phone. It was a paramedic, but he said to me 'your son's in cardiac arrest'.

"I can't describe it to you. It was devastating, catastrophic, unbelievable. I still wish he would walk through the door. Life without him will never be the same."

Sam's family have now helped fundraise to install more public defibrillators that anyone can access, including one in Millennium Square.

Louise said: "If a defibrillator had reached Sam within three to five minutes, his survival rate would have jumped from 6% to 74%. But no defibrillator reached him even though there was one 20 yards away."

Sam was a talented rugby player who was described as being extremely fit. It is still not clear what caused his cardiac arrest.

His family and friends say he was a huge character who was kind, generous and lit up any room.

Sam's girlfriend, Lisa, said: "I couldn't have asked for a better person to be with. He was kind, caring. I know he's here with us in spirit today helping us out because he helped anyone and everyone. He would be really really proud.

"Even if we save one life, that's one person saved in memory of Sam."