Jack Phipps inquest: Family 'upset' by verdict

Jack Phipps
Image caption Jack Phipps was described as "lovely and kind" but "vulnerable"

The family of a man who died days after an assault have said they are upset a coroner attributed his death to a medical condition.

Jack Phipps, 53, was admitted to hospital on 22 June after collapsing in Harefields in north Oxford. He died on 1 July.

Police launched a murder investigation and a man was arrested but not charged.

Niece Hazel Carter said: "We're feeling very disappointed, very upset, that justice hasn't been served."

Oxford Coroner's Court heard the police investigation was halted because of a lack of evidence.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Phipps had bruises and broken bones, but pathologists could not be sure they were the cause of death.

Recording a narrative verdict, coroner Darren Salter called it a sad case and said Mr Phipps' death from a bleed on the brain was probably the result of a pre-existing liver condition.

However, he said could not rule out the possibility an assault caused or contributed to his death.

Image caption Hazel Carter said the effect of Mr Phipps' death on the family was 'disastrous'

Ms Carter described Mr Phipps as "lovely and kind" but "vulnerable".

She added: "The impact that this has had on our family has been disastrous and I don't feel like that was reflected today in the coroner's decision.

"It's such a waste of a life and to not have justice at the other end of that is upsetting.

"When you don't get justice it can have a huge impact on your mental health. The fact that the perpetrator is still walking around our community we find very difficult."

Image caption Jack Phipps was admitted to hospital after collapsing in Oxford

In court - David Lumb, BBC South Today

Jack Phipps' life went into decline after the loss of his partner.

He became an alcoholic and ended up homeless and sofa surfing.

Det Sgt Phil Jones told the inquest a female witness saw someone punching Mr Phipps a few weeks before his death.

The witness said she heard a crack and the following morning his face was black and blue.

Medical experts said his death could be the consequence of an assault that took place on or around 13 June, but could not be certain because several weeks had passed.

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