Tragedy as pensioner sworn at by Leeds youths collapses and dies

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A PENSIONER collapsed and died from a ruptured major blood vessel as he was being verbally abused by two young boys near his home in Harehills, Leeds, an inquest heard.

The boys aged and eight and ten were swearing at 79-year-old Brian Victor Hepworth when he fell to the ground on Back Hill Top Avenue on Sunday October 13 last year.

Wakefield Coroner’s Court was told paramedics discovered Mr Hepworth had suffered a head injury and had gone into cardiac arrest when they arrived at the scene just after 6pm that day.

He was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where he was pronounced dead.

Police, who were investigating an allegation Mr Hepworth had been pushed, arrested a 10-year-old boy on suspicion of murder and bailed him pending further enquiries.

Forensic pathologist Dr Jonathan Medcalf, who conducted a post-mortem examination, said Mr Hepworth’s head injuries were consistent with him falling on to the pavement.

Dr Medcalf said Mr Hepworth had suffered from heart disease and his aorta – the main blood vessel from the heart – had split around 48 hours before he collapsed, causing bleeding into his chest. Mr Hepworth collapsed when it ruptured as he was being verbally abused.

Det Chief Insp Adrian Taylor said the boys admitted swearing at Mr Hepworth and saw him collapse. No further police action was taken.

The inquest heard Mr Hepworth – a verger at St Aidan’s Church and a retired Leeds General Infirmary porter – was a popular figure in the community.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff, said there were no suspicious circumstances.