A retired farm worker died at home following a fall down the stairs, an inquest heard.

Colin Haines, 68, was found at the bottom of the stairs at his home in Chapel Way, Childrey, near Wantage, on October 17. His telephone was off the hook.

An inquest on Wednesday at Oxford’s County Hall heard that Mr Haines’s GP surgery called the police at 3.15pm when he failed to turn up for an appointment a few hours earlier.

Mr Haines’s family believe he was rushing to answer the telephone when he fell.

In a statement, Dr Ben Phillips, consultant pathologist, reported that Mr Haines had died from positional asphyxia caused by obesity.

He said that blood in his skull suggested that he may have hit his head. A toxicology report said there was no sign of alcohol in his bloodstream.

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter recorded a verdict of accidental death.