Animal lover killed by his 8ft-long pet python.
AN animal lover found dead at his home was killed by an 8ft pet python who "was his baby", an inquest has heard.
Keen snake handler Dan Brandon, 31, died of asphyxiation at his home in Church Crookham, Hampshire, on August 25 last year, Basingstoke Coroners' Court was told.
His mother Babs said he kept 10 snakes and 12 tarantulas in his room at the family home and had had Tiny, an African rock python, since she was small enough to fit in his hand.
Coroner Andrew Bradley recorded a verdict of misadventure and said: "The most likely scenario is that Tiny was engaged with Dan - I have no doubt about that.
"She was coiling around him, at which point I have no idea. There was a point at which either she takes hold of him unexpectedly or trips him up or some other mechanism."
Mr Bradley said the snake then hid, probably "because of the shock of him falling or because of his reaction".
He added Mr Brandon was asphyxiated "as a result of contact with Tiny", and that he "cannot see any other reason" for the death.
Mr Brandon's parents, brother and sister were in court, and Mrs Brandon told the coroner the snake loved her son, was his "baby", and that he never felt threatened by Tiny and was aware of how strong she was.
Pathologist Dr Adman al-Badri said his diagnosis of asphyxiation was one he came to by exclusion, but said what he found included a haemorrhage behind one eye, plus burst blood vessels, and congested lungs - another sign of asphyxiation.
The court also heard how there were no bite marks or puncture wounds caused by a snake discovered on his body, and Mr Bradley ruled there was no aggression from the python.