Questions remain for family following Presteigne ‘murder’ inquest — (The Brecon & Radnor Express)

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The Brecon & Radnor Express

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

THE family of a man found injured in a field say they still have questions about how he died after a coroner rejected a verdict of unlawful killing.

Police had launched a murder inquiry in August last year and arrested a teenager after 42-year-old Darren John Deakins was found with a head injury at Wents Meadow in Presteigne – but closed their criminal investigation earlier this year, with no action taken against the arrested man.

Powys coroner Andrew Barkley last week rejected a verdict of unlawful killing and said Mr Deakins died from complications from a head injury against a background of excessive ingestion of antidepressant fluoxetine and alcohol.

The injury had been sustained between Sunday, August 18, 2013 when he was drinking with a group of mostly older teenagers, and 7.30 am the following morning when he was found badly injured in the field.

The father-of-one, who lived at nearby Lugg View, died later that same day at Hereford Hospital.

His sister Sandra Brown, who lives close to the field where her older brother was found, said following the three hour hearing at Brecon: “There are still a lot of unanswered questions, but there is nobody there to answer them. It is just a shame and I hope he didn’t suffer.”

At the hearing 20-year-old student Tom Durrant, who was arrested on suspicion of murder, repeatedly said he could not remember details about the night, including how he was said to have ’lightly pushed’ Mr Deakins during an altercation at the shed, a sheltered meeting area at Wents Meadow near to where Mr Deakins was found injured.

Mr Barkley said it was possible Mr Durrant may have been acting in self defence of himself or others and he could not be satisfied there was an unlawful act, and also that act, had resulted in the death.

He also said the level of fluoxetine was ’within the fatal range’ and said it also may have contributed to Mr Deakins being unsteady on his feet and could have contributed to him falling.

He said there was a period of some nine hours between the incident at the barn and his body being discovered when it was not known what had happened to Mr Deakins.

Following the hearing Mr Deakins’ family said he wasn’t an aggressive person.