QUESTIONS remain over what happened during a gap of nine hours between when a Presteigne man was reportedly pushed and when he was found unconscious in a field and later died.

Darren Deakins, 42, was found unconscious in Wentes Meadow, Presteigne at 7.30am on August 19, 2013, hours before he was pronounced dead at Hereford County Hospital.

A criminal investigation was launched and Tom Durrant, who was 19 at the time, was arrested on suspicion of murder.

An inquest at Brecon Law Courts this week heard the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case as Mr Durrant could have been acting in self defence and/ or protecting someone else.

The coroner was also told that nobody knew what happened between the reported incident to when Mr Deakins was found.

A post mortem also revealed Mr Deakins had a high level of the anti depressant drug, fluoxetine, in his system, which could have contributed to his death.

The main cause of death was recorded as a subdural haemorrhage and brain swelling due to blunt force head injury.

The inquest heard Dorothy and Nicholas Close found Mr Deakins at 7.30am, and noticed he had a small graze to his head.

The evening before, about 12 young people had gathered in the area known as the barn in Wentes Meadow to drink and socialise.

Mr Deakins was brought back to the barn by one of the youngsters and he was described as acting "weird", at times “aggressive”and very “up and down”.

As others gradually left, Mr Deakins, Abi Duggan, her then boyfriend, Sam Peatson and Tom Durrant were left in the barn.

Miss Duggan said Mr Durrant took offence when Mr Deakins drank some of his vodka.

She said she thought Mr Deakins was going to hit Mr Durrant and tried to calm him down, before Mr Deakins accidentally pushed her and she grazed her face on the wall.

Mr Peatson attended to Miss Duggan and he said out of the corner of his eye he saw ‘Tom ever so slightly push’ Mr Deakins who 'was all up in his face'.

He said he didn’t see Mr Deakins fall to the floor, but when they left he was on the floor and they asked if he was ok, to which he grunted.

Mr Durrant was unable to answer many of the coroner’s questions due to his memory fading.

When he was being interviewed by police last year he said he had pushed Mr Deakins to the chest with open hands with a light force to move him back from Miss Duggan who was sat next to him.

His mum, Wendy Durrant, said in a statement, when her son came home from the barn about 11pm he had said someone had being “having a go” at Miss Durrant and he pushed him away from her.

She said he then went back to the barn to check and came back and said the man had gone.

A sample of blood taken from the barn floor was matched to Mr Deakins.

The inquest heard Mr Deakins was a paranoid schizophrenic, an alcoholic and in the past had taken drugs, including heroin and cannabis.

Coroner Andrew Barkley said: "For nine hours we simply do not know what happened to Darren Deakins. What we do know is he was found in a different position and had a serious injury and later died."

He recorded a narrative conclusion that Mr Deakins died from complications of a head injury which he sustained between 18 and 19 August 2013, against a background of excessive ingestion of fluoxetine and alcohol.

His sister Sandra Brown said: "I knew nothing could come out of this because of that nine hour gap. There are no answers and that is it."

She added: "He was a lovely, beautiful person. He is very much missed by all of us."