A Salford University music student died mysteriously in his sleep aged just 24 after winning a brave battle for life following a horrific head-on car crash.
Henry Warnock had been left critically ill with multiple injuries after his red VW Golf was in a collision with a Mercedes Sprinter van near his family’s luxury home.
But despite doctors fearing he would not survive, Henry fought for his life and against the odds spent seven months recovering in hospital.
Although his injuries left him with brain damage and restricted his guitar playing, he battled to overcome his problems with ongoing medical rehabilitation.
Eventually after two hard years of recovery, Henry, from Alderley Edge, Cheshire, enrolled on a professional music and sound recording court at Salford University.
But tragedy struck last April when his family failed to a get response to text messages they sent him.
They called his student halls and he was found dead in bed in his en suite room by the caretaker.
Doctors could not establish a cause of death but ruled out any link with the crash – and instead suspected he suffered from ‘Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome’ in which the heart experiences an irregular rhythm.
At an inquest, Henry’s mother Dawn, 52, who runs a property and real estate company with her husband David, 51, said: “He used to come home every weekend and wasn’t suffering from any illnesses. He was happy and the first person he would ring if something was wrong would be me.
“He had been home the week before he died and we had been away on a business trip but we facetimed him on the Easter Saturday. We used to FaceTime all the time between the whole family. We are a very close unit.
“He was laughing with us. He was lying on the bed and he was happy. He even sent through a bill for next year’s accommodation. After that we did not hear anything at all.”
Henry suffered massive head injuries in his accident occurred in June 2011 when he was 22 and doctors at Macclesfield General Hospital thought he was lucky to survive. The van driver suffered minor injuries in the impact.
Mrs Warnock added: “After the accident he had difficulties with his dominant arm which restricted his guitar playing and he had a frontal lobe injury.
“He had to relearn how to conduct himself – he couldn’t smell and had trouble with his eye lid. The only pain he was suffering was neuroma in his hand where there was a tangle of nerves.”
Henry who was also a keen DJ was last heard from on April 22 but when he didn’t reply to a family text message, his mother Dawn, father David and two sisters Tabby and Sophie became concerned and called officials at the student accommodation.
Pathology tests showed he had a ‘naturally-occurring disease that cannot be identified’.
Henry’s GP, Dr Stephen Maxwell, of the Kenmore Medical Practice in Wilmslow, said: “He had a serious road traffic accident in 2011 and the injuries sustained were life-threatening and required a number of surgeries. He was lucky to survive.”
“There was a permanent brain injury. The brain injury can be a factor causing epilepsy but to my knowledge he never had any post-traumatic epilepsy. Whilst he had some residual physical injuries there was no life-threatening condition in terms of his recovery.”
Recording a narrative verdict, Bolton coroner Alan Walsh said: “Henry was involved in a very serious road traffic accident and was not expected to survive but it is testament to his strength and courage that he did.
“The most serious injuries occurred in the brain and damage to the frontal lobe may have led to epilepsy and other conditions which may have made him susceptible to death.
“However, during the three years, since the accident there is no evidence of him having epilepsy or a condition of a life-threatening nature.
“He had residual problems with his eye and arms and he clearly worked very hard and showed strength to resurrect his academic career and go to university. I pay testament to his courage and bravery in overcoming life-threatening injuries.
“I do believe the way Henry was found is significant – in bed covered by his blanket. He may well have simply gone to sleep.”
Mr Walsh added: “He had tried very hard to get his life back on track. To go through all of that and for this to happen is devastatingly tragic and I cannot imagine what you are going through.
“I cannot imagined that this could happen when he was settled back at university – where he was happy. It is unimaginable.”
Story via Cavendish Press
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