Ex-speedway star died after brain injured in fall

AN INTERNATIONALLY renowned speedway rider who survived many crashes during his long career died accidentally after falling over at his brother's home in Gildersome.

An inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death after it heard Arnold (Arnie) Haley, 60, had died of a severe brain injury as a consequence of a fall.

Mr Haley, of Troy Mount, Morley, had been visiting his brother, Allan, at his home in Moorland Crescent when he tripped and fell.

Mr Haley, who was retired and lived alone, helped Allan, who suffers from schizophrenia, with shopping, odd jobs and gardening.

Allan Haley said his brother had climbed out of a taxi and fallen on the garden path before getting up again and, asking his brother to pay the taxi driver, went to bed.

In the early hours of the morning he heard Mr Haley falling down the stairs - he found him at the foot of the stairs.

After trying to wake him, he decided he was still drunk and so put a coat over him and left him to sleep it off.

The next morning Allan realised his brother had not moved and so went first to his sister's house before phoning for an ambulance.

Mr Haley was taken to Leeds General Infirmary but doctors found his head injury was too serious to operate on, and he died.

Terrence Haley, another brother, said Arnold was a big drinker and could easily drink 10 pints and follow them up with shorts at his favourite pub, the Fountain Inn.

Coroner David Hinchliff said: "We are not sure if it was a a result of a fall down the stairs or the first fall or a combination of both but what I can reassure you of there was no problem, no degenerative disease of the brain that caused him to fall."

He said no alcohol had been found in Mr Haley's blood but the delay of around 18 hours between his return home and the blood test in hospital would account for this.

Arnold Haley became interested in speedway when he was 15. Hard work and skill led to an international career riding in the British team, touring and competing across the world.

After retirement he used his reputation and good singing voice to organise concerts which raised thousands of pounds for the children's cancer charity Candlelighters.

He has left a son Daniel, four daughters Karen, Janet, Sarah and Sally and two grandchildren.