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Nursing home death inquest over man with cerebral palsy adjourned at last minute

Published 18/11/2016

Seamus McCollum died aged 56 at Maine Nursing Home in Randalstown
Seamus McCollum died aged 56 at Maine Nursing Home in Randalstown

An inquest into the death of a man found in his nursing home bed with mysterious marks on his neck has been hit by a last-minute adjournment.

Seamus McCollum, 56, who had cerebral palsy, died after he was discovered unresponsive at Maine Nursing Home in Randalstown on September 12 2011.

Previous preliminary court proceedings heard that the marks were consistent with compression of the neck, but that experts differ on what could have caused them.

Coroner Joe McCrisken had been due to examine the circumstances of the death during a three-day inquest starting on Friday.

Relatives of Mr McCollum and witnesses arrived at Belfast Coroner's Court for the scheduled hearing but, after discussions with legal parties in chambers, the coroner emerged to say he had been forced to adjourn.

He said the postponement was down to a personal issue with one of the lawyers involved in the case.

"I do not adjourn inquests unless there is an exceptional reason for doing so," he said.

"I am satisfied this is one of those times that the reason given is exceptional."

The coroner said he would relist the inquest for January.

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