A Sunderland dad whose body was found at a waste recycling plant after police used an iPhone app to trace his mobile had suffered a fractured skull and broken ribs after it is believed he climbed into a bin.
Jay McLaren's body was discovered at a recycling plant in the Sedgeletch area of Houghton on Christmas Eve last year, almost two days after he disappeared.
Popular Jay, 28, of Hadleigh Road, off Hylton Road, had been on a night out with team-mates from his Sunday League football team two nights previously when he went missing.
An inquest at Sunderland Civic Centre was told that witnesses described him as being "quite drunk" after drinking for several hours, starting off at the King’s Arms, in Deptford, before he and the group he was with moved into Sunderland city centre.
He was last seen leaving Arizona in Park Lane before CCTV captured him walking into a back alley behind Bavaria Bar in Vine Place shortly before 4.30am on December 23.
It is believed he climbed into a waste bin which was later emptied into a collection wagon at about 5.30am.
Jay's body was then found at Max Recycling, off Sedgeletch Road, late on Christmas Eve after police managed to trace his phone using the Find My iPhone app.
Police contacted company director Patrick Roche, who arrived to open up the site.
He then helped to search through waste collected by workers using machinery.
"We knew what we were looking for and also that he had been wearing a green and white elf sweater," said Mr Roche.
"The only reason I noticed Mr McLaren was because he had this sweater on.
"I saw a hand and identified it to the police officers."
A post-mortem examination carried out by Home Office pathologist Jennifer Bolton found that he had suffered serious internal injuries.
Dr Bolton told the hearing that toxicology reports had found Jay was three-times the drink-drive limit.
She said: "He had blotchy haemorrhages in his eyes and the skin on his face.
"There were a number of grazes and bruises but none of them were worrying.
"None suggested that he had been assaulted and none of them gave us an indication as to how his death had occurred."
Dr Bolton added that an internal examination of Jay's body found that: "He had a number of broken ribs.
"He had actually broken the top half of his rib cage on both sides and there was some bruising.
"He also had a head injury with a little of bleeding around the brain and a fracture to the skull, which is an indication that there had been a forceful impact to the skull."
Dr Bolton added that, in her opinion, Jay was most likely unconscious when he died.
"It is likely to render somebody unconscious," she said.
"There is no consciousness because of the blow.
"He is not aware of anything that happens."
Summing up her evidence, Dr Bolton said: "There were no injuries to suggest that somebody had done something to him.
"The head and chest injuries, it is the combination of both of those that have resulted in his death."
The jury inquest, which is being presided over by Sunderland's assistant coroner Andrew Hetherington, is expected to conclude on Wednesday.