Alcoholic’s death was accidental: inquest

Eastbourne Magistrates Courts (Law Courts) October 18th 2012 E42155N
Eastbourne Magistrates Courts (Law Courts) October 18th 2012 E42155N

An alcoholic who died after hitting his head outside the public toilets in Hampden Park died accidentally, an inquest has heard.

John Holloway, of Malvern Close, died on September 30 last year and an inquest into his death was held at Eastbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon (August 29).

Coroner Alan Craze was told Holloway had a drink problem and would regularly sit on the benches outside the toilets in Brassey Parade and get drunk.

On September 29 2012, cleaner and van driver Konrad Dawidowski went to lock up the toilets at around 7.30pm but found one of the cubicles was occupied by Mr Holloway.

He told Mr Craze, “I knocked on the door and said I have come to lock up but I cannot repeat what he said. He said very rude words for me.”

Mr Dawidowski waited outside and Mr Holloway stumbled out from the cubicle. He told Mr Craze, “I put my hands on his shoulders to move him away from the door.”

Mr Dawidowski then got in his van to leave and as he put the car in gear and started to move forward Mr Holloway threw himself on to the bonnet of the car before falling down and hitting his head on the road.

Mr Dawidowski said, “I stopped the van and got out and he spoke to me and said something like, ‘you are going to be in trouble’.”

He explained to the coroner that he had no battery on his phone but called for the help of a passer-by and used their phone to call the police and ambulance service.

Mr Holloway’s condition deteriorated and he was taken to Hurstwood Park with a serious bleed around the brain. He later died in hospital.

The incident sparked a police investigation which included an appeal for witnesses, a collision report on the van and house-to-house enquiries.

Detective Inspector Ian Williams from Sussex Police attended the inquest and said, “We had to investigate the incident and see if a crime had been committed.”

However, he explained Mr Dawidoski’s account was consistent with all the other information they had received.

DI Williams said, “If there was an impact it was probably no more than one mile an hour from a vehicle that had just been put in gear, in my opinion.”

He added, “There is nothing to suggest Dawidoski was not telling the truth.

“It seems that John, somewhat upset about being ejected from the toilets, threw himself at the van and fell back in a drunken state.” A high level of alcohol was found in Mr Holloway’s system at post mortem and Mr Craze said this had played a part in the incident.

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.

PICTURED: Eastbourne Magistrates Court