Norwich man William Phillips died 'after row with cyclist'

William Phillips
Image caption A police investigation concluded William Phillips' death was not suspicious

A 34-year-old man died after being pushed in the street during an argument with a cyclist, an inquest has heard.

William Phillips hit his head on the pavement in Oak Street, Norwich, on 18 July and died two days later.

The hearing in Norwich was told witnesses had seen a man push him over before cycling off.

Mr Phillips, who had a rare brain condition which made him unsteady on his feet, had been seen walking in the road, causing traffic to dodge him.

Staff at a nearby GP surgery had rushed to his aid and he did not initially seem to be badly injured.

The 22-year-old cyclist, who was not named at the inquest, was arrested by Norfolk Police.

He was later released without charge when officers concluded the death was not suspicious.

Manic behaviour

Shirley Kenton-Barnes, whose home overlooks Oak Street, told the inquest she had heard shouting and swearing and saw two men.

"One of them had his hands up and pushed the other," she told Norfolk Coroner's Court.

"It wasn't a hard push, it was as if to say 'keep away'.

"The other looked as though he lost his footing and went down.

"Then the first man got on his bike and went off along the road."

Mr Phillips, of Derby Street, Norwich, had adrenoleukodystrophy, a condition similar to multiple sclerosis which sometimes led to manic behaviour and him being verbally abusive.

Dr Simon Shields, a neurologist, said this may have led to Mr Phillips appearing to be drunk.

He added: "His condition would not have made him more susceptible to a head injury but it may have made him more vulnerable to fall."

Dr Shields said that Mr Phillips was "highly intelligent" and he had never seen him be physically aggressive.

Witness Marianne Drummond said she saw the cyclist pass Mr Phillips, then throw the bike down and run up towards him.

She added: "It looked as though the cyclist was shouting at the man."

The inquest is expected to conclude on Wednesday.

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