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Wednesday, May 5, 1999 Published at 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK


Rod Hull's death 'accidental'

Rod Hull was best known for his double act with Emu

The death of comic Rod Hull has been described as a slightly bizarre, but tragic, accident at an inquest.

East Sussex Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of accidental death six weeks after Mr Hull died following a fall from the roof of his home at Winchelsea, near Rye.

But the pathologist who examined his body found that the entertainer's judgement may have been impaired by alcohol when he went on to the roof to adjust his aerial during a football match.

Mr Craze said: "It is not a level of alcohol which would be in any way incapacitating."

'Heavy thud'

Mr Hull, 63, who was best known in the 1970s for his double act with his aggressive puppet Emu, was under the drink-drive limit when he fell through an adjoining greenhouse.

He was watching Manchester United in the European Cup with his 19-year-old son Oliver.

Oliver told the inquest: "He said he would go up and fix the aerial. I was to stay and tell him when the signal was good by leaning out of the window and shouting."

He said his father often went out onto the roof to adjust the aerial when the reception was bad.

Oliver said he heard a "light thud" followed by a heavy thud. He found his father lying on the floor and alerted the emergency services.

Declared bankrupt

Mr Hull died from a severe skull fracture and chest injuries. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Conquest Hospital in Hastings on 17 March.

Mr Hull was born in Kent, but moved at a young age to Australia.

He returned to Britain in 1970, where throughout the next two decades he was a popular stage and television entertainer and chat show guest.

But his popularity declined in the 1990s and he was declared bankrupt in 1994.

Mr Hull split up with his third wife, Cher, five years ago after briefly moving back to Australia. He then moved to Sussex, where he lived with his son until his death.

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