AN inquest into the sudden death of a man from Halliwell has been adjourned after it emerged he had been the victim of a serious assault 15 years ago.

Gareth Jones, 36, had been making plans to marry his fiancée before he passed away in his sleep on February 11 last year.

The father-of-three who was described by his family as an entertainer who loved telling jokes and making people laugh had struggled with epilepsy and frequently suffered seizures.

Mr Jones had been making plans to marry his fiancée, Lisa Booth, while continuing to be a doting father to three teenage boys.

He grew up in Halliwell and attended Sharples School, and was a popular member of the community as well as being a keen Bolton Wanderers fan.

Paying tribute to Mr Jones following his death, his brother, Jack Booth, said: “We knew he suffered from epilepsy but nothing this serious.

“He’d been in and out of hospital most of his life, but we were not expecting a death.

“It’s still not sunk in because of how sudden it’s been. It’s not hit everyone. We never had any clue an early death would occur.”

At an inquest hearing at Bolton Coroners' Court, Coroner for the District of Manchester West, Alan Walsh, said Mr Jones had suffered an assault in 2002 which led to him experiencing "very irregular and unpredictable" seizures from two days after the incident until the time of his death.

Mr Walsh said the seizures had meant he was unable to work but added that it had been a "minor assault" that had not become a police matter.

In 2005, Gareth was the victim of another more serious assault that led to a charge of Actual Bodily Harm (ABH).

Mr Walsh said the pathologist carrying out Mr Jones' post mortem was unaware of either assault.

Police officers investigating the matter had sought advice from a medical expert in Nottingham who had told them there was "no causal link" between Mr Jones' death and the assaults.

However, a neurologist told them there "probably" was a link and this had caused Mr Walsh to request that further investigations were carried out.

He said that Mr Jones' ex-wife, Emma Williamson, should be asked to give a statement about his injuries along with Mr Jones' mother, Veronica Booth, who is currently in hospital recovering from a fall.

Mr Walsh formally adjourned the inquest to take place at a later date as yet unconfirmed.

Speaking to Ms Booth, he added: "You lived with his epilepsy and the seizures and for that I am very sorry".