Father believes training exercise led to son’s death

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THE FATHER of a keen cage fighter believes his son might have accidentally killed himself when an unorthodox and dangerous training exercise went wrong.

Joshua Hall used a dressing gown chord to restrict his breathing and was found dead in his shared flat in Macquarie Quay, Eastbourne on March 3, an inquest heard on Tuesday (May 17).

Steve Hall believes his 23-year-old son – dressed in gym clothes – was practising how to handle a headlock when he died. He said Joshua was forced to throw in the towel in a training bout after being placed in a stranglehold.

In a statement read out in court, he said, “Someone had choked him out and he had to submit. He was cross he had to submit against this larger opponent.

“I think he was trying to test himself so he didn’t have to tap out or submit next time.”

But coroner Alan Craze said he was not convinced by the theory.

Joshua, a former Ratton School pupil, was found to have cocaine in his system at the time of death and Mr Craze suggested it was more likely that Joshua had committed suicide. Toxicological reports said he had probably been coming down from a drug high.

Mr Craze said, “I do not completely reject his father’s theory, but I do not accept it either because I don’t think you would be doing that while suffering the effects of cocaine.

“But I cannot rule it out.”

He added, “Most likely it has affected his thought processes and interfered with his decision-making processes. You can only say that it’s a probable suicide, but it’s not a provable suicide.”

Pathologist Dr Hassan El Teraifi said the mix of cocaine and alcohol could prove fatal on their own, potentially interfering with messages from the brain which keep the heart beating and the person breathing.

Mr Craze recorded an open verdict at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court.

In Mr Hall’s statement, he said, “He was bubbly, outgoing, always smiling, full of life. He would do anything to help someone else.”

Housemate Kleant Hoxha had noticed a piece of material hanging from Joshua’s door a few days before the budding cage fighter was discovered dead. But Mr Hoxha, 21, thought it might have been a sign not to disturb him.

He and Mr Hall became increasingly worried after going days without hearing from Joshua. Mr Hall forced the door of Joshua’s room open on March 3 and found his son’s body.

In a statement read out in court, Mr Hoxha said, “I saw Joshua rolling over on the floor, lying there. His father made a comment, ‘Why have you done that to yourself?’.”