HAMPSHIRE police launched a murder investigation after the body of a man was found in a hostel in Winchester city centre, an inquest heard.

Phillip Lamplough called emergency services after finding the body of Toby Hubble on the landing of the hostel in Sussex Street.

Police were called after paramedics failed to resuscitate the 47 year-old, and blood splatter found at the scene initially pointed to a suspicious death.

Mr Lamplough and his friend Anthony Nichol, who Mr Hubble had spent the previous night drinking with on November 12, and Gary Shaw a neighbour in a ground floor flat, were arrested on suspicion of murder.

All were later released without charge after a post mortem revealed that Mr Hubble had in fact died of acute alcohol intoxication.

Mr Hubble, a furniture restorer, was a chronic alcoholic, with a history of alcohol-related injury and illness and was living in a hostel in Hyde Street, the hearing in Winchester heard.

Pathologist Debbie Cook said that at the time of his death the 47 year-old was 5.2 times over the drink-drive limit.

“Anyone with a blood alcohol level of of 400 can die of alcohol toxicity. With someone who is used to drinking it is harder because they can build up a resistance but it is possible for even a chronic alcoholic to die with a blood alcohol level that high.”

Mr Nichol was later charged with common assault after CCTV footage showed him dragging Mr Hubble into the hallway where he was later found, at 11.25pm the previous evening and then repeatedly slapping and kicking him.

Mr Nichol was later acquitted as magistrates decided he had used reasonable force to attempt to wake Toby, and not harm him.

Mr Nichol told the hearing: “I wanted him out of the flat because he was being Lairy and aggressive, I gave him a few slaps, but I did not hurt him.”

Senior Central Hampshire Coroner Grahame Short said that Mr Hubble was clearly a vulnerable person with a chaotic lifestyle and that the cumulative effects of his alcoholic binges most likely lead to his death. “The body can only cope with so much abuse.”

Mr Short concluded that Mr Hubble suffered an alcohol-related death.