Haemorrhage killed man accused of Madeleine McCann fraud

Kevin Halligen, Image copyright Adrian Gatton/PA Wire
Image caption There were no signs of being Kevin Halligen having been assaulted, an inquest was told

A private detective accused of siphoning off money donated to try to find Madeleine McCann died of a brain haemorrhage, an inquest has been told.

Kevin Halligen, 56, fell ill at his home in Normandy, Guildford, on 8 January and could not be revived.

Woking Coroner's Court was told Mr Hallingen had died from an acute subdural haemorrhage.

He had denied misusing funds intended to aid the search for Madeleine, who went missing in Portugal in May 2007.

His Washington-based firm, Oakley International, was paid about £300,000 for a six-month contract, which saw the company hire other private detectives, set up a hotline and process information.

The firm had initially been awarded a £500,000 contract but the McCanns terminated the arrangement before paying any more fees, saying it was because Halligen failed to fulfil certain agreements.

He was later forced to deny claims the money was used to pay for first-class travel, luxury hotel suites, a chauffeur and a mansion in Virginia in the United States.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Madeleine McCann disappeared in Portugal in 2007

In 2012, Mr Halligan, an Irish national, was extradited to the US to face charges over an unrelated £1.3m fraud to which he pleaded guilty the following year.

He was sentenced to 41 months and deported from the country soon after because of the time he had already spent on remand in prison.

Following Mr Halligan's death, Adrian Gatton, a TV director and investigative journalist, said the intelligence and security officer had not been in good health.

"There was blood around the house, probably caused by previous falls when he was either drunk or blacking out," he said.

A pathologist told the inquest there was "no sign of an assault".

Coroner Simon Wickens opened and adjourned the inquest to 2 July, adding the date was subject to change.

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