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Doncaster man found dead at home was assaulted on three separate occasions in days running up to his death, inquest told

Christopher Cumpsty
Christopher Cumpsty

A Doncaster man found dead at his home had suffered blows to the head in three separate assaults carried out in the week running up to his death, an inquest heard.

43-year-old Christopher Cumpsty was found dead at his home in Cross Street, Balby in the early hours of March 11, 2016.

During the conclusion of his inquest at Doncaster Coroners' Court today, the court was told how Mr Cumpsty was struck to the left side of his head sometime between the evening of March 4 and the early hours of March 5, 2016.

"It resulted in significant facial bruising, said Senior Coroner Nicola Mundy as she recapped evidence heard during Mr Cumpsty's inquest.

She added that consultant neuropathologist Daniel Du Plessis, who told the court it was 'one of the most complex cases' he had ever worked on, did not believe the trauma caused during that assault had 'any bearing on his death'.

The court was told that Mr Cumpsty, who was described as someone who struggled with addiction to drugs, was assaulted again during a visit to his drug dealer's property on the evening of March 9.

Dr DuPlessis believed Mr Cumpsty suffered a type of bleed to the brain, known as a subarachnoid haemorrhage, during this attack.

Ms Mundy told the court: "There is very little information regarding Mr Cumpsty's movements on March 10," adding that analysis from Dr Du Plessis suggested Mr Cumpsty had received another significant blow to the head, and fractures to his ribs, between two and 12 hours before his death.

That blow to his head caused a brain stem bleed, the court heard.

Ms Mundy continued by saying that signals from the defibrillator Mr Cumpsty was fitted with showed an unusual activity to his heart at 4.58pm on March 10, 2016.

"I consider that the timing of that is significant. In her [Dr Carter's] view that the cause of that trigger to the heart was very likely to have been an assault," said Ms Mundy, adding: "We place that severe assault and the rib fractures around this time."

Mr Cumpsty was found dead at his property in Cross Street, Balby at around 4.10am on March 11 by his former girlfriend Michelle Payne, who had come to see him after being at her mother's house.

After attempts to resuscitate him, paramedics pronounced Mr Cumpsty dead at 4.35am that morning.

The court was told how Mr Cumpsty is believed to have fallen from his bike at some point during the day on March 10, after witnesses found him lying in the street next to his bike, but Ms Mundy added that no-one had actually seen him fall.

Ms Mundy told the court that while in her view the traumatic head injuries Mr Cumpsty suffered on March 9 and 10 had contributed to his death, she could not deliver a conclusion of unlawful killing.

She said this was because the evidence given to the court could not prove, to the required standard of proof, that Mr Cumpsty had not suffered a head trauma that contributed to his death during the apparent fall from his bike.

Ms Mundy delivered a narrative conclusion, and recorded Mr Cumpsty's cause of death as head injuries, with rib fractures noted as a secondary, contributing factor.

Four people were arrested in connection with the investigation a 41-year-old woman, a 45-year-old man, a 30-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy in 2016, but no-one has ever been charged in connection with Mr Cumpsty's death, South Yorkshire Police confirmed this evening.