Tragic death of young RL fan

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A YOUNG rugby league fan died unexpectedly just hours after watching his team win the Grand Final, an inquest heard.

Bolton Coroner’s Court was told tragic Paul Hitchen, from Orrell, was found on his bed by his brother on October 6, the day after going to see Wigan Warriors’ victory at Old Trafford and celebrating with friends afterwards.

The court heard Paul, of Silverdale Road, had been diagnosed with epilepsy and suffered infrequent seizures, although his condition was being controlled with medication and his last episode had occurred in March 2013.

Paramedics rushed the 22-year-old plasterer to Wigan Infirmary where he was given emergency CPR, but nothing could be done to save him.

Coroner Alan Walsh recorded a verdict of death from natural causes, saying Paul had sadly died from sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

A statement from friend Adam Sykes said Paul and another friend shared a taxi back from Wigan town centre at ariound 4.15am on October 6, and there was no cause for concern when he was left to complete his journey home in the vehicle on Ormskirk Road.

A post-mortem report found no alcohol in Paul’s blood and the only substance present was his prescribed medication at a therapeutic level.

Consultant neurologist Dr Hilary Tyne said epilepsy sufferers were sometimes at increased risk of sudden and unpredictable death, but of the recognised trigger symptoms for an attack only mild sleep deprivation caused by his late night could have played any part in Paul’s death.

Mr Walsh said: “Paul was a young man who worked hard and didn’t allow his epilepsy to prevent him enjoying life. The day before his death he had been to watch his beloved rugby team and seen them win the Grand Final. He was celebrating with his friends but didn’t drink very much.

“He had a late night but he was entitled to enjoy his team’s victory. He came home without incident but having gone to bed or maybe on the way to bed he had an attack which subsequently led to his death.

“There was nothing anybody could have done, and this was exactly what it says: A sudden, unexpected death. I am very sorry. To lose a son at 22 is immensely tragic. I hope you have many happy memories of his life. I want him to be remembered as a young man who was close to his family, and was someone for you to be proud of as a son and a brother.”