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Isle of Sheppey man's unexpected death at The Trafalgar Hotel was from natural causes despite gossip of murder or manslaughter


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A coroner has apologised to the family of a 27-year-old man found dead in a hotel, after they had to endure wild gossip he had been murdered.

Joseph Bye was living at The Trafalgar Hotel and Bar in Rushenden Road, Queenborough, when he was found by the landlady on October 31 last year.

Joseph Bye was found dead at The Trafalgar in Queenborough. Picture: Facebook
Joseph Bye was found dead at The Trafalgar in Queenborough. Picture: Facebook

The inquest heard he had died of natural causes.

The former Sittingbourne Community College pupil had been at a gathering with friends the night before, the hearing was told.

He was found in his room at around 8.30pm, after his family and friends became concerned he was not replying to them.

Coroner Ian Brownhill explained to the court that a post-mortem gave Mr Bye's cause of death as sudden unexpected death with alcohol misuse, although the amount found in his system was less than the drink drive limit.

The doctor who conducted the post-mortem concluded there were no suspicious findings.

Trafalgar hotel and pub, Queenborough. Picture: John Nurden
Trafalgar hotel and pub, Queenborough. Picture: John Nurden

Mr Brownhill apologised to Mr Bye's sister Natasha and step-mum Claire, who were both in attendance at the inquest, for the number of "theories" which had been circulated in the months since his death.

Evidence from DS Matthew Childs explained gossip was spread that the Sheppey man's death was being investigated as a murder or manslaughter.

Others had suggested the death was a "bet gone wrong", but DS Childs made clear there was no evidence to support either of these claims, adding there was no evidence of any homicide.

DS Childs admitted his first hypothesis for the case was suicide after speaking to Mr Bye's friends, who had seen him the night before and claimed he had made comments which matched that of someone with a "suicidal ideology".

However, further investigation ruled out suicide as there was no evidence.

The inquest heard a statement from Mr Bye's GP which explained the young man had cystic fibrosis but this had not played a role in his death, which was said to be "completely unexpected".

Concluding the inquest, Mr Brownhill said he was "incredibly sorry" for Mr Bye's family due to stress they were put under by circulating theories, but eventually ruled his death was as a result of natural causes.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheerness

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