Police have been asked to look again at how Gareth Roberts died following a fight at a house party in Fulwood.Advertisement
Preston Coroners Court heard Mr Roberts, 36, had gone back to the house in Levensgarth Avenue with his friend and three others he had met in the Sherwood Pub, where he worked.
But as people began to leave, Mr Roberts became jealous of the attention his female friend was getting from another man, and a fight broke out between the three of them.
A coffee table was smashed and a fireplace came away from the wall during the struggle on Saturday 13 January 2018.
At some point Mr Roberts became unresponsive and died from traumatic facial injuries and neck compression, exacerbated by alcohol and cocaine he had taken.
But there was not sufficient evidence to establish how Mr Roberts came by his injuries.
Following his death, a 37-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of murder, but were later released without charge.
At an inquest at Preston Coroners’ Court on Wednesday (19 June) members of Mr Roberts’ family said there was a “gaping hole in the investigation” after hearing from a Home Office pathologist and the man Mr Roberts fought with.
Read more: Tributes paid to Liverpool FC fan who died in Fulwood
Coroner Richard Taylor said he would need further information from the police before he could draw any conclusion as to how Mr Roberts died but said he could not rule out unlawful killing.
Following a short break in proceedings, Coroner Taylor said: “I have serious concerns.
“You have heard from Dr Rogers that (neck) restraint could have contributed to Gareth’s death.
“The restraint must have come during the course of the struggle, logic dictates.
“I am not convinced I have sufficient evidence before me and I am going to adjourn this inquest and send it back to the police for the to investigate this further.
“If I conclude this inquest today I would have to consider a verdict of unlawful killing.
“To do that I would need further evidence.”
On hearing the news, Mr Roberts’ friends and family clapped and cried in court.
A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “We respect the Coroner’s decision and will be reviewing the matter to see if any further action is required.”