Phillip Hughes inquest: Family walk out

An inquest has examined the "completely unexpected and shocking" death of Phillip Hughes Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An inquest has examined the "completely unexpected and shocking" death of Phillip Hughes

The family of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes walked out of an inquest into his death.

The 25-year-old batsman died from a haemorrhage in the brain two days after being hit on the neck during a match in Sydney on 25 November 2014.

The five-day hearing was convened to examine if his death was avoidable.

Some players giving testimony at the inquest have been accused of dishonesty for saying they could not recall many of the events of the day.

Hughes death - the aftermath

The inquest, which began on Monday at New South Wales Coroner's Court, heard evidence from players including Brad Haddin, Doug Bollinger and David Warner.

The court examined whether Hughes, batting for South Australia in a Sheffield Shield game against New South Wales, had been targeted by short-pitch bowling, or had received unsettling comments from opponents.

Questions were also raised about whether a bowler told Hughes "I'm going to kill you" before he was fatally injured.

Hughes' parents walked out of the inquest as the counsel representing the family, Greg Melick SC, criticised the players for repeatedly answering many questions by saying "no recollection" or "I can't recall".

"At the end of the day, there was a plan, there was sledging, and short-pitched balls were bowled at Phillip Hughes, which increased the risk of an injury," Mr Melick said.

"Nine consecutive short-pitched balls from the one bowler aimed at leg stump or the body of the batsman was going too far."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hughes was struck by a bouncer from Sean Abbott

Suggestions of fabricated evidence were denied by the counsel representing Cricket Australia and its players.

Hughes' brother and sister later exited the inquest as the sworn statements from the players were defended.

The counsel assisting the coroner, Kristina Stern SC, said concerns about sledging and short balls were "unnecessary" and should not form part of the findings.

NSW State Coroner Michael Barnes will deliver his finding from the inquest on 4 November.

A previous report, commissioned by Cricket Australia, said protective helmets should be compulsory for batsman facing fast- and medium-paced bowling.

But it said helmets meeting the newest safety standards would not have saved Hughes' life.

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