Coroner not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Norwich homeless man's death was caused by assault
PUBLISHED: 12:54 26 June 2018
A Norfolk coroner said she is not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a homeless man found dead in a Norwich underpass died as a result of an assault.
Sergiusz Meges, 29, was found dead in St Stephen’s underpass on June 10, 2015.
A post-mortem examination recorded he had suffered injuries “in keeping with an impact to the lower chest” that could have been a “kick, stamp or possibly a forceful punch to the left side of the lower chest” but may also have been a fall.
The medical cause of death was given as haemorrhaging and splenic lacerations.
An inquest being held at Norwich Coroner’s Court had heard evidence that doorman Lee Copeland had been approached on a night out and told by a man he had not met before that he had killed the “guy in the underground” as he was pestering him for money.
Mr Copeland said he told police later the next day but was unable to pick the man out of a police identity parade at a later date.
Two men - Dominic McInerney and Dara O’Carroll - were arrested in connection with the death of Mr Meges but were later told they faced no further action.
Mr McInery has appeared at the inquest, but chose “not to answer any questions which might incriminate him”.
Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, said she was “satisfied on the balance of all probability” that Mr Meges died as a result of the injuries he sustained on the night of 9/10 June 2015.
She said: “I’m not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the fatal injuries were as a result of an assault on Mr Meges.”
Mrs Lake said Mr Meges, who originates from Poland, was a chronic alcoholic and so was “susceptible to falls”.
She said: “I can’t rule this out. I also can’t rule out the possibility, however slim, that Mr Meges himself may have left underpass undetected from CCTV at some point during the night and fell.”
The coroner said there was evidence from one witness - although not corroborated by anyone else or found by the police - of a crutch being at the scene.
Mrs Lake said this was something that “he could’ve fallen on” although was not actually seen.
She concluded Mr Meges died after he sustained fatal injuries.
The coroner extended her sympathies to Mr Meges’s family.