A CORONER has ruled the death of a 36-year-old man who was left at the bottom of a set of stairs for more than 26 hours following a fall was contributed to by gross neglect.

An inquest in Preston into the death of Anthony Sykes from Burnley concluded on Friday after coroner James Newman adjourned proceedings in 2019 to gather evidence from a neurosurgeon as to whether the delay in seeking medical help for Mr Sykes contributed to his death.

The hearing, which lasted just over an hour, concluded that Mr Sykes, of Parkinson Street, Burnley, may have survived his injuries had he been treated immediately.

A summary of the evidence was heard during the inquest in which Mr Newman said Mr Sykes had fallen down some stairs at his aunt's house in Sunderland Street, Burnley, at around 10pm on December 9 2017, while trying to take a Christmas tree downstairs.

Mr Sykes was initially responsive and complained of neck pain, but said he was unable to move his legs or get up from the floor.

Instead of calling for help, he was left at the bottom of the stairs by his aunt, Deborah Bradshaw and her partner Dale Barrett (both of whom are now dead) while they took drugs, until 5am on Monday December 11.

Stairs fall victim died after being left badly injured for 26 hours

Mr Newman said he was left unconvinced by the explanation at the original inquest in 2019 bur seeing as the witnesses were no longer around he could offer no alternative.

He said: "For reasons known only to the occupants they did not seek medical attention but pretended to call an ambulance.

"They put a jacket and duvet over him and proceeded to carry on with their lives without further interest in Anthony, and that was the case until 5am on the 11th when at that stage they found he could only move his eyes and blink."

An ambulance was finally called and he was taken to Royal Preston Hospital where he was unrecoverable.

Home Office pathologist Dr Philip Lumb said a post mortem identified severe spinal injuries but offered a cause of death as hypothermia, as Mr Sykes had been unable to control his temperature due to the injuries to his spine and the fact he had been left in an immobile position.

Giving additional evidence, neurosurgeon Dr Kaushik Ghosh said he could not rule out the possibility that Mr Sykes would have survived his injuries had immediate medical help been sought.

Mr Newman said: "The lack of care and lack of medical attention in my opinion, brought about his death. There was a missed opportunity to have any critical care to support the effects brought about as a result of his initial injuries - drop in blood pressure, temperature and breathing.

"I have been in this job for 10 years and have seen cases of when people do not seek medical attention following falls, but I have never seen it to this extent and certainly not for a family member.

"Anthony died as a result of hypothermia due to a fractured spinal cord after falling down the stairs and despite complaining of neck pain and being unable to move his legs, the occupants showed disregard for his health until the morning of December 11.

"The delay in calling for help prevented Anthony from receiving medical treatment offering him the best opportunity to survive.

"I offer a short form conclusion of accidental death but do find that there was gross failure to provide any basic care from the people he should have been able to rely upon and say his death was contributed to by neglect."

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Sykes' mother, Terry Wilkinson said her son was a 'super lad' and had a 'heart of gold'.

She said: "He would do anything for anyone. He loved his step-father, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. He was fun, and you could be feeling down but he would always be able to make you laugh.

"I feel like he was taken away from me. Who doesn't ring an ambulance when you see someone like that?

"I always expect a knock on the door, or seeing him walk down the street, but in my heart I know it's not going to happen.

"Maybe in time I will get closure but when you lose a child I don't think it can ever go away."