Open verdict at inquest into ex-jockey’s death whose body lay unfound for weeks

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The cause of death of an ex-jockey, whose decomposing body lay undiscovered in his Newmarket flat for up to two weeks, remains a mystery an inquest has been told.

The body of 54-year-old Derek Brown, who had lived in one of the refurbished Racing Welfare flats at Rous Memorial Court in Old Station Road since they were officially opened by the Princess Royal in 2012, was discovered on December 2 last year.

Such was the state of decomposition that mummification had begun, the inquest in Bury St Edmunds heard.

A post mortem examination was unable to ascertain a cause of death.

The inquest heard Mr Brown, who had ridden his first winner back in 1981, had been forced to give up riding because of a serious back injury, which left him wearing a back brace. He had been working at Tesco in Newmarket but had been off work for the three weeks prior to his death. On December 2 the door to Mr Brown’s flat had been found open and his body discovered on his bed.

Assistant Suffolk coroner Dr Daniel Sharpstone said medical records indicated Mr Brown had suffered from poor health and had two periods of being treated in hospital. “I am unable to reach a firm conclusion and the only choice is to leave this as an open verdict,” he said.

Keith Bovill, Racing Welfare’s head of housing, said after the hearing: “This is very unfortunate. We last saw Derek on November 17 when he came into the office with a rent inquiry. He seemed in good spirits, was enjoying his job at Tesco and didn’t give us any cause for concern. If any concerns had been flagged up about Derek we would have carried out a welfare check, but none were.”