A HEALTHY man found dead in a field near Stone after being kicked in the head by a horse had suffered a heart attack just days earlier – but put pains down to a former chest infection and kept on cycling.
Christopher Booth, who turned 64 the week he died, complained of chest pains while out cycling with partner Deborah Williams on June 2, Cannock Coroners Court heard today.
He was in good health and rarely sought medical help, the inquest heard. He passed off his pain as symptoms of a previous chest infection, which had been treated by antibiotics.
Miss Williams, of Winsford, Cheshire, said: “He was not well when we were out but decided to pedal it off. I asked if he wanted to go to hospital but he said he didn’t wish to.”
Mr Booth, of Ryder Road, Meir, was found dead in a field at nearby Poplars Farm, off Hilderstone Road, Meir Heath, at around 9.30am on June 7.
The field, which had public access via a footpath, contained horses. Mr Booth was found by Phillipa Inskip during her morning duties at the farm.
DC Steve Prince, who led the investigation into Mr Booth’s death, said: “At 8.40pm the previous evening she had been in the area where she discovered him. At that time he was not present.”
Mr Booth had sustained bruising to his head consistent with a horse kick, pathologist Paul Hiley told the inquest.
But there was no fracture and the injury alone would not have been sufficient to kill him. “He would have had a black eye for a while,” Dr Hiley said.
A post mortem revealed that Mr Booth had suffered a heart attack.
Dr Hiley said: “This is something that has happened some time previously. My best guess is that it happened four days beforehand.
“Some people get a lot of chest pain, some people don’t even know they are having a heart attack. What we do know is that if someone suffers a heart attack they are at risk of dying suddenly because of electrical disturbances to the heart.
“If you go to A&E with a heart attack they will put you under very close observation. If you have a lot of adrenaline going into your system, your system struggles which is why we keep people lying down.
“Being kicked by a horse would have been enough to give a jolt of adrenaline to the system. That is likely to have precipitated the death and is more likely than it being a coincidence.”
South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh recorded a verdict of accidental death.