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I still feel a suspect over hostel death -manager.

Byline: Neil Connor and Ross McCarthy

A former Birmingham hostel manager who was charged with murdering a resident yesterday criticised the police after the city's coroner recorded an open verdict on the death.

Nicholas Callister, who ran the Six Ways New Roots hostel in Birchfield Road, Aston, was involved in a scuffle last November with Dean King, who died after being pinned to the floor by the manager until the police arrived.

A murder charge was brought against Mr Callister but was dropped in April after new evidence came to light that Mr King, aged 31, had taken a fatal overdose of antidepressants before his death.

Mr Callister, aged 39, said his life has been turned upside down by the trauma of being the only murder suspect in the case.

He said he has not worked since he was charged and imprisoned two days after the incident, and his marriage has also been put under pressure.

At an inquest in Birmingham yesterday, coroner Aidan Cotter recorded an open verdict in the death of Mr King at the hostel for the homeless and people on probation.

But, speaking afterwards, an angry Mr Callister said: 'By bringing in an open verdict it is still saying I could have been the cause of his death.

'The reason I had to pin him down for so long was because I had to call the police myself and it took about 20 minutes.

'I was put in custody for two weeks and I have had the fact that I could have spent years of my life in prison on my mind for six months.

Mr Callister said: 'I do not feel they investigated it properly. It just seems the finger is pointing at me all the time which is wrong.'

Earlier, Det Sgt Nigel Harrison said Mr King had been ejected from the hostel after an incident the night before.

He said he had become involved in an altercation with Mr Callister who tried to stop him re-entering the premises.

He said a murder charge had been brought against Mr Callister on the basis that he had used excessive force but it was later withdrawn.

After the hearing he added: 'As far as I am concerned the investigation was thorough. He was charged on the evidence that we had. It was withdrawn on the basis of the information that came to light from the toxicology report.'

The inquest heard that Mr King, who had suffered a head injury, died as result of inhaling blood but pathologist Dr Peter Acland said he believed the anti-depressant overdose had played a 'significant factor' in his death.

However the coroner said there were three different possibilities as to how Mr King had come by his death.

He said Mr King could have died as a result of the drugs overdose or that the drugs played a significant part in his death although it still occurred as part of the incident. The third possibility was that Mr King died as a 'direct result' of what happened during the struggle.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 29, 2003
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