THE grieving family of a man whose death sparked a murder-style investigation insist they will continue to “fight for justice” after a new legal setback.
An inquest into the death of Keith Hansen was due to resume today, having been adjourned in July so his family could mount an appeal to get the circumstances of his death re-examined.
The 30-year-old died in August last year, after suffering a head injury during an altercation involving a number of people at his home in Longleat Gardens, South Shields.
Six people were initially arrested, but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to pursue criminal proceedings and advised police to take no further action.
An inquest into the father-of-one’s death was opened in July, but adjourned by South Tyneside Coroner Terence Carney while Mr Hansen’s relatives appealed to have the CPS decision reviewed.
They have now been told that the original decision has been upheld.
Mr Hansen’s sister, Kirsty Hansen, from Jarrow, said: “We’re still going to fight on for justice for Keith.
“We’re not going to stop until we get answers. With things going on for this long, it has been horrific but we’re not going to give up.
“We’ll take it as far as we have to, and as high as we have to. We’re not going to give up on getting justice for Keith.”
The inquest heard from Home Office pathologist Dr Mark Egan, that Mr Hansen had two pre-existing but undiagnosed medical conditions.
He had a severe coronary artery disease, a type known to cause heart attacks, and an Arnold-Chiari malformation – a brain deformity.
Dr Egan said both conditions could have caused his sudden death at any time, but that, in his opinion, he would not have died had it not been for the head injury he suffered on the night of his death.
A CPS spokesman said: “Following the tragic death of Keith Hansen, the CPS was asked to consider whether charges of manslaughter or murder could be brought against four people involved in a verbal and physical altercation with Keith shortly before his death on August 19, 2012.
“After reviewing all available evidence in the case, we advised police to take no further action in relation to any of those arrested.
“In July of this year, the family of Keith Hansen made a request under the Victims’ Right to Review, to have the decision to take no further action in this case reviewed.
“The case was then referred to the CPS Appeals and Review Unit, where a different prosecutor scrutinised the evidence which informed the original decision in this case, alongside additional information provided by the Keith’s family.
“As a result of that review, the original decision was upheld and the family were subsequently informed of this.
“We extend our sincere sympathies to Keith’s family, at what must be a very difficult time for them.”