THE sister of a man killed after a fight outside his flat in South Shields has been given fresh hope after qualifying for legal aid.
Father-of-one Keith Hansen died from a head injury during an altercation at his home in Longleat Gardens, on the town’s Woodbine Estate.
The 30-year-old died after becoming involved in an argument on August 19 last year.
After his death, six people were arrested, and it was treated as a murder-style investigation.
An 18-year-old woman and 17-year-old girl were released without any charge and four were freed on bail. After a 10-month probe, the four people, two men, aged 23 and 29, and two women, aged 26 and 30, walked free after all charges were dropped.
Mr Hansen’s sister, Kirsty, 33, said: “We’ve just had someone get in touch to tell us that we qualify for legal aid and we’re hoping to be able to take it further.
“We just want justice for Keith. Something’s not right and somebody is to blame for his death.”
An inquest into Mr Hansen’s death, held last month, was halted so the family could speak with solicitors.
It was also heard Mr Hansen had a severe coronary artery disease, a type known to cause heart attacks, and an Arnold-Chiari malformation – a brain deformity – either of which could have caused his sudden death.
At the hearing, South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney said: “If I was giving a verdict in this case, now that there is no prosecution happening, I would say he died due to the combined effects of pre-existing, undiagnosed neurological and cardiological disorders, drug-induced intoxication and the stress of being involved with others in a violent public disorder on August 19, 2012, in Longleat Gardens, South Shields.
“However, I won’t return that verdict today, as the family is going to speak to a solicitor.”
Miss Hansen, from Jarrow, added: “This is just awful for all of us, and it’s been going on for so long now.
“I feel like they’re trying to blame Keith’s death on the medical conditions that he didn’t know he had, but just because someone’s got something wrong with them, doesn’t mean it’s OK for them to die.
“There has to be someone behind the death.”
Kirsty now hopes she can challenge the Crown Prosecutions Service’s handling of the case.
The CPS previously said it took his health conditions into account when making the decision not to pursue a criminal investigation, but family members say those conditions make no difference to the fact that he may have been assaulted.
A spokesman for the CPS said it has until early September to decide whether to look at their evidence again, independently of the prosecutor who made the original decision.