A POPULAR Leominster man died of a head injury following a fall on his way home after welcoming in the new year.

Stephen O'Connor of Wegnalls Way was found by a member of the public in Buckfield Road in Leominster at around 7am on New Year's Day.

He was conscious but appeared to have a head injury and Martin Beaumont-Pike, who found him, called an ambulance.

Mr O'Connor was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and underwent an operation but died the following day on his 63rd birthday.

A post mortem recorded he died from a brain injury caused by a head injury with significant underlying ischemic heart disease.

The inquest at Herefordshire Coroner's Court heard Mr O'Connor was involved in a road traffic collision in 1978 whilst driving a motorcycle and sustained a significant head injury. He also had a fall on New Year's Eve 2016 which resulted in a minor head injury.

Landlord of the Barons Cross Inn in Leominster Leonard Nellany told the inquest Mr O'Connor had been in the pub during the afternoon on New Year's Eve but went home to get something to eat before returning in the evening.

He said Mr O'Connor came to the pub every two to three weeks at the weekend.

Manageress at the pub, Kelly Matthews, said Mr O'Connor was a regular at the pub. She said: "When I first met Steve I thought he was drunk because of his speech and slur. It wasn't until I got speaking to him he told me about his accident previously and that is why he spoke with a slur."

She said on the New Year's Eve she served him five pints and said she did not believe he was drunk.

Mrs Matthews said during the night Mr O'Connor had complained about a pain in his leg. She said he stood up in the lounge bar and was a bit unsteady on his feet, which she believed was down to the pain in his leg. At 3.10am she and her son, Thomas, helped him out of the pub and across the road and pointed him in the direction of home, as he told her he did not need help getting home.

She said she did not understand why he ended up in Buckfield Road as it was not on his way home.

A police investigation was carried out which revealed no suspicious circumstances.

Coroner Mark Bricknell recorded an accidental death. Sister Sheila Tate thanked all those who helped him.