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Mystery follows murder probe as man plunges to death from 11th floor of flats

Dudley | News | Published:

A man died after falling from the 11th floor of a block of flats, prompting police to arrest four men on suspicion of murder, an inquest heard.

Police later released the men due to there being 'not enough substantial evidence' in relation to Richard Hennefer's death.

Coroner Zafar Siddique says it was possible Mr Hennefer's death was accidental but it 'left a dilemma as not all questions can be answered'.

Mr Hennefer, aged 47, was staying with friends at Hackwood House flats in Oldbury at the time of his death on December 28.

Speaking at the inquest, Mr Hennefer's mother, Diane Spittle from Dudley, said he had seemed 'agitated' when she had seen him the day before.

Mr Hennefer had a history of alcoholism as well as suffering from bi-polar, Smethwick Coroners Court heard.

A criminal investigation was started by police after he was found dead outside the flats on Lions Farm estate after falling from the 11th floor balcony at around 9.30pm that night.

His mother told the inquest: "He had borrowed money from me and I was pretty sure he had been drinking as he seemed agitated.

"However he was not in bad spirits as he had left a Christmas gift at our house and a clean jumper as we were having a party."

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Detective Inspector Nigel Harrison explained how the men present at the flat were arrested following Mr Hennefer's death, but were later released.

He said: "The four men who Richard was staying with were arrested following his death on suspicion of murder but were later released from custody as there was not enough substantial evidence to say if Richard had been involved in an argument or pushed on purpose or fell by accident.

"Because it was classed as a suspicious death we had a forensic post-mortem carried out and the conclusion was that he died as a result of multiple injuries.

"There was no evidence that he had been assaulted and unfortunately we still cannot answer if he deliberately or accidentally fell.

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"There was no evidence of it being a suicide attempt neither as no suicide note was left in the flat.

"The report also showed there was hardly any alcohol in his blood and just a small amount of cocaine."

Recording an open conclusion, Mr Siddique said: "It is a possibly that Richard could have slipped and given his lifestyle choices at the time we can only reach an open conclusion.

"It does leave a dilemma as not all questions can be answered.

"However this is a distressing situation as he was clearly loved by his family."

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