THE family of a dad who was found dead in his flat have pleaded for the public’s help in a desperate bid to solve the mystery surrounding his death.

Michael Peers, 37, died after losing lost two litres of blood from a 10cm tear in the tissue connecting his organs.

But despite a forensic pathologist saying his injuries were probably caused by a “kicking or stamping”, an inquest into his death concluded with a coroner unable to confirm who or what killed the former soldier.

Recording an open verdict at Bolton Coroners Court, coroner Rachel Syed, said it was “with regret” she came to the conclusion, adding it was “a particularly difficult inquest to conduct”, after two key witnesses refused to give answers at the hearing.

Mr Peers' mother, Tracey Todd later told The Bolton News: “I’m devastated that they’ve not been charged. They gave us nothing. The last 18 months has destroyed us as a family and all we want is some answers."

Other witnesses had told the hearing that two of Mr Peers’ neighbours in Enfield House, Halliwell, husband and wife, Paula Otley and David Wood, had been involved in an altercation with him shortly before his death on July 22, 2018.

But after both denying they had assaulted him, Mr Wood and Ms Otley gave 'no comment' responses to further inquiries about the circumstances of Mr Peers’ death, citing Rule 22 of the Coroners (Inquests) Rules 2013, which states no witness at an inquest is obliged to answer any question tending to incriminate him or her.

“It has been a very distressing and traumatic time for the family and a very frustrating exercise for them,” said barrister Terence Channer who represented Mr Peers’ family who attended every day of the three-day inquest.

“The coroner has had a job to do and to a large extent her hands have been tied in this process and she could not be sure it was an unlawful killing.

“Clearly we have two critical witnesses, Ms Otley, whose evidence has been all over the place and has been very evasive, and Mr Wood with a similar profile.

“As much as the family are disappointed, there is missing evidence.”

Mr Peers’ family say that in the hours leading up to his death he had been in contact with them about an incident with neighbours, ‘Dave and Paula’, at his block of flats.

Heartbroken mother Tracey Todd told the inquest of the distressing conversation she had with her son, who was described in the hearing as a chronic alcoholic.

Ms Todd said she had spoken to her son on the phone at around 10.25pm on July 21, just a few hours before he was found, saying: “Mike said ‘Dave’s just grabbed me by the neck and punched me'.”

Mr Peers’ former partner Suzanne Penny had also received a text at the time from him reading: “Ring my mum, I have just had a murder, Paula’s fella punched me and the four smackheads upstairs jumped me.”

But such a serious injury would not have been caused by just a punch, according the pathologist.

Dr Charles Wilson said: “Being grabbed by the throat would not cause this injury. Maybe Anthony Joshua might manage it, most people could not summon enough force to cause this damage from a punch.”

The inquest also heard from Mr Peers’ neighbour Christian Condron, who denied fighting him and said Ms Otley had told him she had fought with Mr Peers and showed him her bruised hand, injured when she hit him.

Ms Syed said there were a number of “practical difficulties” with the case, including a lack of CCTV footage from inside the block of flats, a lack of forensic evidence and the lack of admissions from Mr Wood and Ms Otley, with the coroner adding the only firm evidence was provided by the pathologist Dr Wilson.