A murder inquiry was triggered after a dead man was found covered in more than 104 injuries, an inquest heard.
Binge-drinker and drug user Garry Crossley, 38, died in intensive care at Bradford Royal Infirmary on June 5 last year after his brain was starved of oxygen – possibly due to drowning.
Injuries, some older than others, all over his body included scrapes, grazes, bruises, cuts, burns likely from cigarette lighters and blunt object marks.
His flat-mate Stephen Cameron, who found him collapsed in the bath before dragging him out and trying to revive him, was twice arrested on suspicion of his murder but was never prosecuted because of insufficient evidence, Detective Superintendent Mark Ridley told the hearing in Bradford.
Witnesses in other bedsits at Apsley Crescent, Manningham, and knew Mr Crossley and Mr Cameron, had told police about hearing screaming and shouting coming from the men’s flat but Assistant Coroner Oliver Longstaff expressed caution about some of the witness evidence.
The inquest did hear allegations about Mr Crossley being bullied and manipulated, being made to beg under the arches at Forster Square and being forced to hand over money.
Anthony Birkett, who lived in one of the bedsits, had told detectives Mr Crossley would sleep on Mr Cameron’s kitchen floor because he was incontinent and Mr Cameron was frustrated with him messing the flat.
Another Apsley Crescent resident Stephen Hemingway described Mr Crossley as a “loveable idiot” who was taunted for being homosexual and would do what Mr Cameron asked him.
Mr Hemingway told police how the night Mr Crossley was found in the bath, he had earlier heard loud music, banging like a hammer and when passing the men’s open flat door had seen a pair of feet being dragged past – hours later police were at the flat. Det Supt Ridley said Mr Crossley’s death had provoked a major police investigation from the outset.
In a police interview, Mr Cameron, who later exercised his right to stay silent, had described how Mr Crossley had been drinking and gone to sleep under a blanket on the kitchen floor which he had urinated on, it was also covered in blood from a scab on his leg he picked at with a kitchen knife.
He said he told Mr Crossley to clean himself up, started running him a bath leaving him to sort himself out – ten minutes later he found him under the water, dragged him out, called paramedics and tried to revive him.
Recording a verdict of misadventure, Mr Longstaff said: “It does seem Mr Cameron did have some influential hold on Mr Crossley and that he assumed a degree of responsibility for Mr Crossley who was described in the words of one witness as ‘a loveable idiot’. The post mortem findings of so many injuries do suggest Mr Crossley was a victim maybe of more than one person.”
He said: “It seems to me the fact no direct third party involvement can be established and that Mr Crossley was bathing when he appeared to have been warned about bathing alone it's more likely than not that some sort of episode occurred in the bath causing his submersion that caused his hypoxic brain injury that ultimately led to his death.”