THE tragic dad of top footballer Leon Clarke died after a being knocked out during a New Year’s Eve drunken brawl, an inquest heard.
The Sheffield United striker’s dad Darel, 50, was attacked by reveller Dillon Price as the celebrations turned sour.
Darel had jumped on Price’s back and threw a number of punches during the row over buying drinks at The Boat Inn pub in Wolverhampton, West Midlands.
But Price delivered one blow to footie ace’s dad, which knocked him out, Black Country Coroner’s Court was told.
Detective Sergeant Angela Baggott told the inquest how Price had gone to get water to throw over Darel, but he was already up and had left the pub on his bike to make his way to another nearby.
She added: “Witnesses said people were asking him if he wanted an ambulance but he refused.
“He went outside and got on his bike, but fell off, hitting his head.”
Det Sgt Baggott said that no further action was taken against Price following his initial arrest.
CCTV played in court showed Darel lying on the floor then staggering to his feet before being placed in an ambulance.
He was taken to New Cross Hospital where medics found he had a bleed on the brain following the horrific incident.
Doctors decided on January 2 that nothing could be done for Darel and his life support was switched off.
It was unclear whether the punch or the fall killed the footballer’s dad, the court was told.
Zafar Siddique, senior coroner for the Black Country, recorded an open verdict.
He said: “I really can’t be sure what caused Mr Clarke’s death – whether it was from the punch or when he fell off his bicycle.
“Therefore I have no no alternative but to record an open verdict. My sympathy and condolences go to Mr Clarke’s family.”
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