Victim died weeks after pub brawl

AN accountant from South Yorkshire died a week after a GP surgery twice refused to send a doctor out to see him, an inquest heard.

John Bailey, aged 37, was suffering from severe headaches, vomiting and hallucinations and was too weak to leave home - but his surgery insisted they could only examine him if he attended at the centre.

The Sheffield inquest heard Mr Bailey, who lived alone in Ringway, Bolton upon Dearne, suffered a head wound in a fight a outside the Dearne Hotel on September 15, 2007, a month before he started feeling unwell.

A scuffle had started between his brother Eric Bailey Jnr and a man called Andrew Gill in which Mr Bailey became involved.

Eyewitness John Kelly, who had been drinking in the pub with Mr Gill, said Mr Bailey approached the scrapping pair as a fourth man - Jason Holden - intervened.

Mr Kelly said: "I saw Jason go over to John and say 'leave it, leave it.' The next thing I saw was Jason lash out and strike him on the face. The single blow caused John to fall back and hit the back of his head as he fell."

Mr Holden, a telecommunications engineer, gave the inquest a different version.

He said Mr Bailey attacked him without warning after the scuffle.

"He was coming at me and then the next minute he was throwing blows at me," Mr Holden told the court.

"I was defending myself, holding my hands up. I threw one punch. He stumbled back and fell to the floor. It wasn't like I aimed or anything - it was just a reaction to defend myself."

Assistant deputy coroner Prof Robert Forrest said a police investigation into Mr Bailey's death had been concluded and nobody charged with a criminal offence.

The court heard Mr Bailey passed out for a few minutes after he hit the ground before an ambulance rushed him to Barnsley District General Hospital. Dr Charles Gibson, a junior doctor working in casualty that night, said he came in with a two centimetre laceration to the back of his head. He was completely conscious so the wound was glued and he was sent home.

For the next few weeks John seemed fine - even going on holiday to Crete with his brother and some friends.

But towards the end of the holiday he started complaining of a headache. And when he returned home Mr Bailey's condition worsened.

His brother Eric said he stopped shaving and showering. He called the doctor's surgery on October 18 and 19 when his brother started vomiting.

He told the court: "They said they couldn't come out and I would have to fetch him up. But he couldn't even make it to the car.

"There was nothing I could say to change their mind."

Later on October 19 Mr Bailey fell out of bed and Eric called for an ambulance.

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He was rushed to Barnsley Hospital, before being transferred to Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire on October 22 for emergency surgery.

Doctors could not save him and he died on October 26.

Pathologist Prof Peter Vanezis said that John died with a very swollen brain and a traumatic brain injury towards the back of the head.

He said it was "more likely than not" that his death was due to head injuries sustained in the fight.

But he said he could not rule out the chance that a lumbar puncture carried out in Barnsley Hospital had contributed.

The inquest continues.

ben spencer

News Reporter

‘Self defence': Jason Holden punched John Bailey outside a pub

Tragedy: John Bailey, 37