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Man who died mysteriously at Whittington Hospital was violent drunk, court hears

St. Pancras Coroner's Court, London. Picture: PA St. Pancras Coroner's Court, London. Picture: PA

Friday, February 28, 2014
2:47 PM

A man who died in mysterious circumstances from a fractured chest bone was a violent drunk who attacked his own mother, a coroners court heard today.

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Alexander Stewart, known as Sandy, had gone to the Whittington Hospital in Magdala Avenue, Archway, in December 2012 complaining someone had attacked him and jumped on his chest.

The 49-year-old, of Henfield Road, Archway, was examined and sent home with some pain killers, but was rushed to hospital a few days later and died from multiple organ failure, blood poisoning and pneumonia.

Police have not been able to find the alleged attacker; Mr Stewart did have a scuffle with his brother Jim at their mother’s house in Mercers Road, Upper Holloway, around the same time, but there’s no suggestion that’s where he got the injury.

In a statement read out at St Pancras Coroners Court, Elizabeth Stewart said: “He came into the kitchen. He looked wild and was banging his fists on the table.

“He said ‘I’m flying mum’. He was shouting and screaming and there was froth coming form the corner of his mouth.”

Jim Stewart entered and told his brother he should be at home because he was under police curfew for an alleged assault.

A scrap broke out – “just pushing, not really a fight” – which ended with the pair grappling in the garden and falling into a rose bush.

Mrs Stewart said: “He never mentioned it again.

“But Sandy was always so high on drink and drugs he didn’t know what day of the week it was.

“He would try and fight the world when he had a drink inside him. Every day was like a boxing match

“I was frightened of him. He used to bash me black and blue.

“Jim never knew about him hurting me.”

Mr Stewart – who took cocaine, had previously injected drugs and drank 10 cans of cider a day – leaves behind a long-term partner, who he met when he was 14, and a young daughter.

The corner, Selena Lynch, recorded an open verdict because she didn’t have enough evidence to say it was an unlawful killing, although she was sure he was assaulted.

She added his lifestyle of drink and drugs would have masked the pain of the broken sternum, but also made his conditions worse.

She said: “I hope nobody in the family think there was anything they could or should have done to get him to hospital.

“Don’t do that. These things are not in our gift.”

She said: “Somebody out there knows exactly what happened to him and somebody knows he was the victim of a fairly serious assault.

“My verdict does not mean no one can be prosecuted.”

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