A GRANDFATHER who died following an altercation at a North-East night club had to be restrained by up to four door men in the moments before he started experiencing health problems, an inquest heard.

Stewart Anderson, from Hetton-le-Hole, died in July 2016 following an incident at Loveshack, in Durham.

Crook Coroner’s Court heard the 54-year-old had to be restrained for about six minutes outside the Walkergate club after punching two bouncers who were trying to eject him and two friends from the venue.

Simon Hopper, one of the men who restrained Mr Anderson until police arrived, told jurors it had been like “fighting with an animal”.

Mr Anderson had been drinking in Durham with friend Alan King and his son Jordan before visiting Loveshack in the early hours of Sunday, July 24.

REVAMP: Plans have been announced to open Players Bar at the former Loveshack nightclub, Walkergate, Durham Picture: TOM BANKSREVAMP: Plans have been announced to open Players Bar at the former Loveshack nightclub, Walkergate, Durham Picture: TOM BANKS

The trio were ejected from the dancefloor just before 1am following allegations that Mr King junior had punched another man.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of violence breaking out after doormen asked them to leave the premises.

After being taken outside, doorman Michael Murray said Mr Anderson punched him three or four times in the face.

The inquest heard he was brought to the ground and restrained on his side by Mr Hopper, along with two other Loveshack doormen, while a fourth man, who was a bouncer at nearby Lloyds, held his head.

When police arrived and handcuffed Mr Anderson, they turned him over and discovered parts of his face were blue.

Mr Hopper, who was a bouncer for 28 years but has now retired, said he had restrained people in a similar way on many occasions, though it was unusual to restrain a man on the ground for as long as they did.

He said: “You risk assess all the time. You’ve got to gauge what’s going on. He had already attacked members of staff twice. I thought if I let him get up he was going to attack.”

He added that when police arrived and asked them to get up, they refused. He said: “We refused because of the amount of violence we had seen. We thought it would be unsafe.”

He added: “It was like fighting with an animal, he had so much anger and aggression.”

Mr Hopper said Mr Anderson continued to resist until the handcuffs were put on and was still speaking prior to the arrival of police.

After seeing Mr Anderson’s face, PC Dawn Lee called an ambulance because she thought he might be dead, the inquest heard.

Defibrillators were used at the scene and Mr Anderson was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham (UHND), where he was pronounced dead at 8am.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Anderson had cocaine, ecstasy and alcohol in his blood and also had an enlarged heart and narrowed blood vessels, which contributed to his death, as well the stress and exertion suffered while being restrained.

Last year, Mr King senior was given a community order after admitting to affray for his role in events, while charges against his son were dropped after witnesses withdrew their support for the prosecution.

The inquest continues.