A WEARSIDE man whose death sparked a police probe died of an “incredibly rare” heart condition, an inquest heard.
Police launched an investigation after Charles Brennan, of Charles Street, Boldon Colliery, was found with injuries to his face in a lane in South Shields, just after 11pm in June. The 31-year was taken to hospital but pronounced dead the next day.
Two people were initially arrested and taken into custody but later exonerated after medical tests revealed Mr Brennan had died of a rare heart tumour which develops in the womb.
Home Office pathologist Dr Nigel Cooper told an inquest that death was due to a cystic atrio-ventricular node tumour, accelerated by alcohol intoxication.
Dr Cooper said: “A heart specialist who carried out an examination said the condition is incredibly rare and that he had only come across two other cases in all his experience. In fact, I had never heard of it and had to look up the condition in a book.”
The inquest was told Mr Brennan’s heart was otherwise healthy, but a post-mortem examination revealed high levels of alcohol in the blood, equivalent to being four times over the drink-drive limit.
Det Sgt Andy Richardson, who led the investigation into his death, said it was initially thought Mr Brennan had been assaulted.
South Tyneside Coroner Terence Carney described the heart condition as “a silent killer” adding that it was unlikely Mr Brennan suffered any pain.
Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Carney said death was the result of an undiagnosed, rare heart condition, aggravated by acute alcohol intoxication.