Just how did my friend James die?

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A friend of man who died a week after he was found “poleaxed” in the street has appealed for help to solve the riddle of his death four years on.

James Faulding (49), died on Christmas Eve, 2008, just days after he was found with serious head injuries in Commercial Road, Spalding.

Although it was initally believed that James had fallen while drunk, tests later showed he had no alcohol in his system.

A pathologist who gave evidence at an inquest in 2009 said James, who had a fractured skull and brain injuries, was found in a poleaxed position – lying as though he has fallen straight back rather than collapsing. His wallet and keys were missing and, the inquest heard, bleeding to the white of James’s eye could have indicated trauma, such as a punch.

One of loner James’s few friends, who he met while at university in the early 1980s, believes the evidence points to his pal being attacked and left for dead and wants people to come forward with any information which could lead to a new police investigation.

Duncan Brown, who lives in Buckinghamshire, said: “James had a lot of mental health issues and he often used to go out in the middle of the night for a walk to clear his head of the demons. I am convinced that is what he was doing that night and that he was assaulted.

“If someone did kill him I want them brought to book. I want justice for James and for that to happen someone needs to come forward with new information about his death.”

Lincolnshire Police have said James’s death remains “unexplained” and the investigation could be reopened if new information comes to light.

A thorough investigation, including door-to-door inquiries, was carried out following his death but no witnesses to what happened to James were ever traced.

Duncan Brown says he would like to see a Crime Watch reconstruction of that night in a bid to jog people’s memories, and that he hopes the passage of time may mean someone with information is more willing to come forward.

He said: “James was well known as a drinker. He suffered from schizophrenia and had bouts of depression which he used drink to fix, but as far as I’m aware he was never violent. He was always just very quiet and reserved.

“After James moved back to Spalding we used to have regular conversations about things.

“He suffered a lot in life. I think he had been abused at boarding school as a child and a lot of his problems stemmed from that.

“He certainly did not trust authority.

“He lived alone all the time I knew him. It was difficult for him to make friends and to hold down a job as he was a different person from one day to the next, but he was reluctant to seek help because he didn’t trust anyone.

“I don’t want to reopen old wounds but I believe he went out for a walk that night and was set upon. Personally I would like to see those responsible caught.

“I was one of the very few people James did trust, I think, so I really want to see justice done. He was a lovely chap and if anyone has any information I would ask them to pass it on to the police.”

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “We were never able to determine how James received his injuries.

“As with all cases, if any new information comes to light, or new witnesses come forward, we will of course look into this, and an assessment will be made as to whether the case should be reinvestigated.”