Family in plea for help after inquest into death of Malcolm Pratt from Gorleston

Malcolm Pratt: Family submitted picture Malcolm Pratt: Family submitted picture

David Bale david.bale2@archant.co.uk
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
8:03 AM

The family of a man whose death in Gorleston launched a murder investigation have released his photograph in a bid to urge people to come forward with more information.

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Fifty-one-year-old Malcolm Pratt, known as Hank, was found collapsed in his home in Exeter Road on July 15 last year.

He had last been seen alive on July 12. He died in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on July 26.

Following his death, three people from Great Yarmouth were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

However, after a four-month investigation, police said they would face no further action.

Yesterday’s Norwich inquest was told that Mr Pratt, who lived alone in a first-floor flat, died from a head injury, but the cause of the injury could not be determined.

Mr Pratt suffered from significant natural diseases and he could have suffered a seizure, fallen and hit his head, the inquest heard.

Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake recorded a narrative conclusion that Mr Pratt died from a head injury, but that the evidence was inconclusive as to how he came by that injury.

But Mr Pratt’s family still believe he was assaulted and cite the fact that his mobile phone, which he always had on him, has never been recovered.

After the inquest, the family said in a statement: “We are saddened by the outcome of this inquest.

“There are many unanswered questions. We feel there are people in the community who know what happened on the night of July 12, 2013, but are unwilling to come forward.

“It’s very distressing to think that he was left by unknown persons unable to call for help without his phone. No one deserves that.”

When police found Mr Pratt’s body face down at his home, there was blood in the living room and bedroom, and the coffee table had been broken.

“The inquest was also told that a neighbour heard a commotion at the address on the night of Friday, July 12.

Dr Benjamin Swift, forensic pathologist, said Mr Pratt had a history of alcohol dependency and drug abuse, and was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver.

He said Mr Pratt was at risk from a seizure and had suffered seizures in the past.

He said his injuries were consistent with a fall, but he could not rule out the fall being caused by a light punch, or a heavy push, which would not have marked his body.

He said that while the police view was that Mr Pratt had been assaulted, the medical evidence was inconclusive.

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