Indian-origin professor's headlock in self-defense led to Oxford colleague's death
An Oxford University professor suffering from mental health problems died after his best friend restrained him in a headlock after he vowed to kill him in an unprovoked violent assault, an inquest has heard.
Professor Steven Rawlings, an eminent astrophysicist, suffered a fatal heart attack after being pinned to the ground in self defence by his oldest friend and fellow Oxford academic Dr Devinderjit Sivia.
The 50-year-old married professor, who suffered a mental breakdown in 2011, attacked Dr Sivia at his home in the village of Southmoor in Oxfordshire January, the Telegraph reports.
After becoming increasingly confused and agitated he threatened to kill the 49-year-old mathematician and before punching him in the face, the report said.
According to the report, fearing for his safety and in an attempt to calm his friend down, the devout Sikh grabbed him in a headlock, holding him for about 20 minutes, and pinned him tightly to the ground.
Oxford coroner, Darren Salter, was told that the hold cut off Rawlings' air supply and coupled with the high amount of adrenalin in his system led to him suffer a heart attack, the report said.
Forensic pathologist Nicholas Hunt said Professor Rawlings had died as a result of cardiac arrest following compression of the neck, the report added.