Burnley binge drinker dies in stairs fall

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A man, said to be a binge drinker, died after falling down the stairs of his home in Burnley.

Mr James McKinley (53) was found dead at the foot of the stairs in his flat at Lower Tentre on Thursday, November 29th.

An inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court heard that Mr McKinley was found with cuts to the back of his head and bruises on parts of his body.

Pathologist Dr Abdul Al-Dawoud, who conducted the post-mortem examination, said Mr McKinley had suffered a fractured skull.

There was a significant amount of alcohol in the blood and urine, as well as an anti-depressant drug within the therapeutic range.

A small amount of cannabis was also present in his system.

Dr Al-Dawoud gave the cause of death as head injury.

The inquest heard a written statement from Edith Grimshaw, a neighbour in the flat directly below Mr McKinley’s, who said that around 9pm on Tuesday, November 27th, she heard banging, which on reflection could have been someone falling down the stairs.

A statement from Mr McKinley’s friend Ann Gavin said she had last seen him on Tuesday evening.

Peter Abbot, a mechanic at Turf Moor garage, said that on the morning of November 29th, Mr McKinley’s daughter Sheryl came to him asking for assistance to gain entry to the flat.

He climbed up the guttering and through an open upstairs window before discovering Mr McKinley at the bottom of the stairs. The flat was locked.

But Mr McKinley’s sister Frances, and other relatives who had travelled from Glasgow for the hearing, said it was out of character for their brother to have windows open at home.

She added that the family had concerns about the manner of Mr McKinley’s death and the subsequent police investigation.

East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor said: “We have no evidence as to what happened inside the house. It appears that Mr McKinley was on his own.

“Medical evidence suggests he had drank quite a bit and may simply have overbalanced.

“I have no option but to record a verdict of accidental death.”