1. ITV Report

Animal lover killed by 'his baby' 8ft pet python

Dan Brandon, 31, died after being asphyxiated by his pet snake, Tiny. Credit: Family handout/Hampshire Police

An animal lover was strangled by his 8ft pet python who was "his baby", a inquest has heard.

Dan Brandon, 31, was found face down on his bedroom floor by his mother, Babs, at the family home in Hampshire, on August 25 last year, with the snake hiding nearby.

Mrs Brandon said her son had never felt threatened by Tiny, an African rock python, despite knowing her strength.

Mrs Brandon told the court on the night of Mr Brandon's death she heard a bang coming from his room, but had assumed it was a dumbbell falling or that he knocked something over.

She later discovered Mr Brandon unconscious and called 999 after noticing Tiny was not in her tank.

Mrs Brandon revealed that there had previously been occasions when the snake would "strike out" if she entered the room.

Mr Brandon's family describe his as 'one of the funniest people you could wish to meet'. Credit: Family handout/Hampshire Police

Coroner Andrew Bradley recorded a verdict of misadventure and said: "The most likely scenario is that Tiny was engaged with Dan - I have no doubt about that.

"She was coiling around him, at which point I have no idea. There was a point at which either she takes hold of him unexpectedly or trips him up or some other mechanism."

Mr Bradley said the snake then hid, probably "because of the shock of him falling or because of his reaction".

The court also heard how there were no bite marks or puncture wounds caused by a snake discovered on Mr Brandon's body, and Mr Bradley ruled there was no aggression from the python.

Barbara Brandon arriving at Basingstoke Coroners' Court for the inquest into her son Dan Brandon's death Credit: PA

Mr Brandon kept 10 snakes and 12 tarantulas in his room at the family home, his mother told the court.

In a statement issued after the conclusion of the inquest, read on behalf of the family by a detective investigating the case, it said Mr Brandon as a son, brother, uncle and best friend was "one of the funniest people you could wish to meet".

"I cry every day and night and relive that evening all the time," the statement written by Mrs Brandon added.

"All the family wanted was answers to our questions, and I have no idea yet whether we have."