A FOOTBALL fan who ran onto a pitch to punch ace Jack Grealish was found dead on a sofa by his sister, an inquest heard.
Father-of-three Paul Mitchell, 31, was discovered at an address in Birmingham after taking drugs and alcohol.
Assistant coroner Simon Brenchley recorded a narrative conclusion, noting a combination of drug toxicity and alcohol as his cause of death at a hearing yesterday.
But it was not known whether his death happened accidentally or through a deliberate overdose.
Mr Brenchley told Birmingham Coroner's Court how his sister saw him on March 14, the day he died.
Mitchell was underneath a blanket on the sofa and she "didn't know if he was awake".
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The coroner said: "She told him the internet man was coming and left."
When she returned to their father's home she found him "cold to touch".
Mitchell had a history of poor mental health, suicide attempts and was suffering from financial difficulties amid struggles finding and maintaining employment, the coroner said.
A post-mortem examination concluded Mitchell died as a result of drug and alcohol poisoning.
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In March 2019, he ran onto the pitch at Birmingham City's St Andrew's stadium during a derby game against bitter rivals Aston Villa.
The Birmingham fan charged into then-Villa captain Grealish from behind and punched him before he was hauled off the pitch.
Mitchell was jailed for 14 weeks but was let out after four.
Grealish said after the attack: "I just felt a whack around the side of the face. There's rivalry in football but I don't think there is any place for that really."
Mitchell later said his time in prison was "the best month of my life".
He added: "It was hard being away from my family but everything was good."
Asked if he regretted his actions, he said: "I'm not apologising for nothing."
Last year he was sent to prison again for breaching a ten-year football ban.
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
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