A man on a night out celebrating his new job died in a tragic accident after he tripped over a step outside his door.
Alex Murray, 31, spent the day drinking with friends in various pubs in Blackburn, Lancashire, on October 1, last year, ahead of starting a new job days later in Cleveleys.
Assistant Coroner Sian Jones returned a conclusion of accidental death for Alex, whose father also appears to have died just months before.
Alex’s family said he was ‘loved by everyone’ and tributes flooded in for the ‘true gent loved by so many’.
His friend Chris McKenzie said Alex was ‘a true gent that I am so thankful to have known’.
He added Alex would be ‘missed by many but I’m sure I can speak for everyone in saying he will never be forgotten!’
A GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs that was launched by Alex’s sister Vanessa raised more than £7,000.
She wrote on the page: ‘This year has dealt us some bad blows and I need your help. Alex was loved by so many so let’s give him the send off he deserves.’
After the inquest Alex’s sister Vanessa told LancsLive: ‘He was loved by so many people.
‘In Blackburn everyone knew him and I was known as Alex’s sister even though I’m older.’
Alex’s mother added: ‘He was over the moon about his new job. He’d found out earlier in the week and I can still see his face after he got the news; he was buzzing all week.’
Blackburn pubs the Moorgate Arms and the Fox and Hounds also held a series of fundraisers to help Alex’s family pay for the funeral including an auction with items donated by well-known Blackburn Rovers fan Birdie.
The inquest heard that Alex left the Moorgate pub at around 1am in the early hours of Sunday October 2.
He was seen getting into a taxi with two women on CCTV.
Alex is believed to have visited another pub before he was seen arriving home at 2.40am on CCTV.
At 2.40am a neighbour’s CCTV showed Alex staggering towards his home in Preston New Road, Blackburn.
He disappeared round the side of the house before later being found unresponsive by his devastated mum.
At an inquest held on Thursday at Blackburn Town Hall, Sergeant Chris Birchall of Lancashire Constabulary, who was one of the first on the scene, said it appeared that Alex had fallen or tripped next to a small step in the garden.
He said: ‘Alex was found lying on the floor with his head on a small step.
‘He was about six feet away from the side door.
‘It wasn’t possible to say exactly what happened but potentially it was a fall.’
There was no evidence of third party involvement in Alex’s death.
A post-mortem CT scan revealed Alex had suffered a small subarachnoid haemorrhage, which is a head injury that causes bleeding in the space that surrounds the brain.
He also had a fractured eye socket and toxicology tests found Alex was intoxicated at the time of his death and there was evidence of recent cocaine use.
Neurosurgeon Naufel Ansar was consulted to review the evidence and interpret the medical findings.
He concluded that although he couldn’t definitely say the haemorrhage was the cause of death it was a possibility.
Assistant Coroner Sian Jones said: ‘I am satisfied he had been drinking and had taken some cocaine but neither of those were likely to be the direct cause of his death.
‘However the alcohol did affect his mobility and stability and it’s likely to have caused or contributed to his fall because it would have increased the risk of him having a fall. I am satisfied that what he suffered was a simple accident.’