Inquest returns open verdict into Barnsley man’s death

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An inquest has recorded an open verdict into the death of a 32-year-old Barnsley man who suffered a head injury in Thurnscoe today (May 19).

Sheffield coroner’s court heard that Stephen Georgeson known as Squeek or Stevie, was found at the top of a metal staircase outside a flat on Houghton Road, Thurnscoe, on June 5 2020 with an injury to his left eye, and “blood round his nose”.

Although six arrests were made at the time, a senior investigating officer decided to take no action in February 2021.

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DC Richard Stump, of the major crime unit based in Wath told the inquest that Stevie was taken to Barnsley Hospital where he died two days later on June 7.

Stephen Georgeson.Stephen Georgeson.
Stephen Georgeson.

DC Stump told the inquest that the tenant of the flat told police he had returned home at around 5pm on June 5 with two 15 year old boys – one of them his son – to find Stevie unresponsive on the living room floor.

The tenant told police that he had “held Stevie by his shirt” and leaned him against railings outside the flat “on his knees”, after he couldn’t be roused.

Mr Georgeson was then hosed down with water from a hosepipe, by the tenant in a bid to wake him.

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The inquest heard that Mr Georgeson was breathing, but couldn’t be woken, so the tenant called an ambulance at 5.25pm.

The hospital alerted police on the evening of the 5th to a possible assault, and officers attended the flat that evening.

Police found “evidence of blood” on a door frame, and a message on a whiteboard regarding Stevie being kicked out of the flat where we was staying temporarily “because of the state of it”.

DC Stump said that Mr Georgeson had an “injury to the face” and a “cut to the eyebrow,” which “appeared to be an assault”.

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Dr Charles Wilson, pathologist, told the inquest that Stevie was “alcohol dependent”, and had “quite a lot of preceding injuries”.

After being admitted to hospital, Mr Georgeson underwent an urgent CT scan, which found bleeding in his skull, which had “compressed his brain to the other side of his head”.

He was ventilated in critical care, but was pronounced dead at 5.14pm on June 7.

Dr Wilson said that it was clear his “injuries were too far advanced for surgery”.

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He had had “at least three previous episodes of head trauma”, and “signs of significant head injury”. and was drinking around nine litres of cider a day.

The inquest heard that Mr Georgeson was a “frequent attender” at Rotherham and Barnsley hopital’s emergency units, usually due to either mental health problems or alcohol dependency.

Dr Wilson concluded that Mr Georgeson’s medical cause of death was head injury, and alcohol dependency.

Although Mr Georgeson’s injuries to his head and ribs were “consistent with assault”, and there was “good evidence” he had been assaulted, Dr Wilson said that he could not say at which point the bleeding had started.

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Dr Wilson added that Mr Georgeson was found to have injuries that were “not fresh”, and that “older injuries from days or weeks ago may have contributed” to his head injuries.

The inquest also heard that on June 4, the day before he was taken to hospital, Mr Georgeson had been drinking in Derry Park with two friends, who told police that he had fallen off a bench “for no reason”.

The friends told police that Mr Georgeson was “acting weird” in the way he was speaking, and that this was “not the first time” they had seen Stevie act like this.

The two friends left Mr Georgeson at the park, and two passers-by called an ambulance when they found him lying on the floor.

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When the police and paramedics arrived, Mr Georgeson told police he “didn’t want to sit up”, as he had suffered two seizures recently, and he “didn’t want another”.

He was advised to go to hospital, but declined, and returned to the flat on Houghton road with the two friends, who had returned to the park.

Assistant coroner Abigail Combes told the inquest that between June 3 and 5 2020, Mr Georgeson was “subject to assault and accidental injury”, but it was “impossible to say which injury proved to be fatal.”

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