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Heart inflammation led to the death of 'upbeat' graduate.

Byline: anna lewis Reporter anna.lewis@walesonline.co.uk

A LAW graduate who was preparing for the trip of a lifetime died from scarring caused by heart inflammation, an inquest has heard.

Rhys Jones, 25, was found in his home at Clos Ynysddu, Pontyclun, by his stepmother on October 6 last year after failing to turn up to work.

During the inquest coroner Andrew Barkley said in the months before his death Mr Jones had been losing weight ahead of an upcoming trip to Australia and was feeling "upbeat" after changing jobs.

A former rugby player for Penallta Rugby Club in Ystrad Mynach, Mr Jones studied law at Swansea University and graduated with an MA in law from Cardiff University in April last year.

After graduating Mr Jones, originally from Ystrad Mynach, took a role with Hugh James solicitors - a job which his father said had caused him to feel "stressed and exhausted" - before changing company.

In a statement read at the inquest in Aberdare yesterday, Catherine Jones said she had found her stepson lying face down on his bedroom floor after being reported absent by his employer.

Sports supplements and high caffeine supplements were later found in his property after a police search, along with two cannabis grinders.

Giving evidence, police officer PC Lewis Briggs described the supplements as "readily available" at supermarkets and bodybuilding shops and said there was no evidence Mr Jones had used steroids.

He said: "The premises was secure, there was no signs of any forced entry. There is nothing to suggest to me that there was anything there to indicate the cause of death."

Summarising Mr Jones' GP records, Mr Barkley said he had had "little medical history".

No trace of alcohol or drugs was recorded during a post-mortem examination.

Paying tribute Mr Jones' father Chris Jones described his son as a "happy and healthy boy" who had supported him during the divorce of his first wife.

Mr Jones said: "He was extremely supportive and this was a supportive side to Rhys which everyone knew him best for.

"He was a very social child and created friendships - some of which continued to his death."

Despite being a "private" and "quiet" man, Mr Jones said his son was known by friends as the "heart and soul of a party".

During a FaceTime conversation days before his death Mr Jones said his son had appeared "upbeat" and had lost weight after reaching 100kg during his time at university.

He said: "He appeared to be upbeat about his career and trip to Australia. He made no complaints to me about his health and wellbeing.

"He knew he was overweight and intended to reach his target weight well in time to go to Australia to visit his friend.

"He was a very calm, caring and considerate person.

"My last words to Rhys were 'I love you'. In the days following I attempted to contact Rhys by text."

Recording a conclusion of death due to natural causes, Mr Barkley said Mr Jones had died as a result of muscle scarring caused by heart inflammation myocarditis.

He said: "The main finding is of course myocardial scarring. This is in keeping with myocarditis which can be very difficult to spot and is more likely to result in scarring the heart which increases the risk of sudden death.

"It is of course of little comfort to family and a wider circle of friends that there is clear evidence of scarring to heart muscles caused it seems to me by post-inflammatory myocardial infection."

CAPTION(S):

Rhys Jones, pictured at his graduation last April, died of natural causes following heart inflammation myocarditis
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Feb 14, 2018
Words:608
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