Death ruled as an accident after joke went wrong

TRAGIC Victor Hayles died in what the coroner ruled was a practical joke gone wrong
TRAGIC Victor Hayles died in what the coroner ruled was a practical joke gone wrong
Mark Clutterbrook in 2015

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A FAMILY have spoken of their heartache after a father-of-three was found hanging when a ‘practical joke went horribly wrong’.

Victor Hayles was found hanging in the conservatory by his wife, Susan.

But after an inquest, held at Portsmouth Guildhall, the 57-year-old’s death was ruled as accidental.

Coroner for Portsmouth, David Horsley, concluded Mr Hayles death was caused accidently after he went to play a practical joke on his wife.

He said: ‘I think it’s a prank that went horribly wrong and therefore I have to conclude it’s an accidental death.’

Mr Hayles, of Mayfield Road, North End, died in August. But despite the circumstances surrounding his death, his family knew he hadn’t committed suicide.

Susan, 59, was married to Mr Hayles for 18 years.

She said: ‘We were relieved when the coroner ruled that Victor’s death was an accident. We have always known that he wouldn’t have committed suicide because he wasn’t very good at tolerating pain.

‘It was just a practical joke that went horribly wrong.

‘He was always pulling pranks and would pretend to electrocute himself when using the drill so I think this was just another of them.’

During the inquest, it was revealed that Mr Hayles had been out drinking but the level of alcohol in his system was only 1.7 times the driving limit.

It was also revealed that he had made plans for the weekend of his death and was looking forward to his birthday and anniversary which were less than a week away.

His daughter, Daisy, aged 31, said: ‘He lived his life like a bachelor and he loved it.

‘He would go on holiday with his friends and go out drinking but was always eager to return home to his wife.

‘Everyone loved him and he had lots of friends through his passion for motorbikes.’

On the night he died, Mr Hayles had returned from a party just after midnight.

He had taken his dogs for a short walk before returning home to feed the next-door neighbours cat. When he didn’t return, Susan went looking for him and she found him hanging from a door.

She added: ‘Victor knew I would go and check on him and turn off the lights so I think he was waiting, ready to scare me with his joke.

‘Although we are glad he hadn’t meant to kill himself, it’s still sad because we have lost him.’