'Assault' on intruder may have contributed to his death, inquest hears

The beatings and force of restraint that a would-be robber received from two brothers whose house he had broken into may have contributed to his eventual death, a coroner has said.

Adrian Casey, 50, pointed a realistic-looking imitation firearm at the mother of Daniel and Ian Ward after breaking into their home on Rosgill Drive, Leeds, an inquest heard.

The hearing was told that the intruder had demanded money but was eventually restrained by the two brothers, who repeatedly punched him.

Ian Ward, the older of the two brothers, sat on Mr Casey and held his face against the road outside their home for around 20 minutes while waiting for the police to arrive, the inquest heard.

But he and his sibling eventually stopped restraining the intruder when it became clear the man was no longer struggling, witnesses said.

Despite being treated by police and a paramedic, Mr Casey was declared dead a short time later.

During an inquest at Wakefield Coroner's Court on Thursday, the hearing was told that Daniel and Ian Ward had both been arrested and charged with murder following the incident.

But proceedings against them were dropped when a post-mortem examination report was unable to attribute a single, definitive cause of death.

The inquest was told that, in a police interview conducted days after the incident, Ian Ward said he and his brother had repeatedly hit the intruder, but he denied murdering him. He said:

"Obviously he's come into our house and attacked us, waving a gun at my family, so I was defending myself and my family." "I did not want to kill him."

Ian Ward

In his own interview, Daniel Ward said that on the day of Mr Casey's death New Year's Day 2018 - he was in the shower when he heard a commotion downstairs at around 5pm.

He said he went downstairs and saw the trespasser, who was with an accomplice, holding a gun to his mother's head and demanding money.

Mr Ward said he believed that he and his brother's actions in restraining him "were justified", adding that he had punched Mr Casey "with a bit of force".

Charges against the siblings were dropped when a post-mortem examination report by forensic pathologist Dr Kirsten Hope gave a number of potential causes of death.

The report, the inquest heard, said Mr Casey, of Seacroft, Leeds, may have died as a result of a blunt force head injury, through heart disease, a slowing down of the heart as a result of amphetamine use, as a result of restraint, or through a combination of these factors.

A coroner was also told that the joiner also had a brain malformation which could have increased the chances of sudden death.

In a statement read out in court, Mr Casey's partner, Louise Casey, said:

The Ward brothers enacted a sustained assault on Adrian, and they went too far in their assault on him.

Louise Casey

She said the father-of-one had been born Adrian Bennett, but was estranged from his family and changed his surname in 2006 to match hers because they believed they would marry.

Coroner Jonathan Leach recorded a narrative conclusion, agreeing with Dr Hope's findings and saying the "assault" Mr Casey received "may have resulted in his death", but that other factors identified in the post-mortem examination could also have been the cause.