Snake handler killed by his 8ft pet ‘baby’ python

An animal lover found dead at home was killed by his beloved 8ft pet python after the snake wrapped itself around him “in a show of affection”, a inquest heard.

Reptile enthusiast Dan Brandon died of asphyxiation at his home in Church Crookham, Hampshire, on August 25 2017.

The African rock python, called Tiny, is believed to have wound herself around the 31-year-old leaving him unable to breathe.

Following his death, Hampshire Police confirmed officers had launched an investigation into the tragedy.

Yesterday, coroner Andrew Bradley recorded a verdict of misadventure and determined Tiny had likely caused Mr Brandon’s death.

Mr Brandon’s mum, Babs Brandon, told Basingstoke Coroners’ Court the snake loved her son and was his “baby”.

She said Dan never felt threatened, despite knowing how strong Tiny is, and confirmed she now looks after the python along with all of her son’s pets.

On the day Mr Brandon died, his parents heard a loud bang from upstairs while preparing dinner.

When they went to check on him, they discovered Dan unresponsive and spotted Tiny was not in his pen.

Mr Brandon’s father Derek performed CPR on his son before an ambulance crew arrived but nothing could be done and Dan was pronounced dead at the scene.

Coroner Andrew Bradley said: “I don’t believe there was any aggression on Dan’s part or on Tiny’s part, the absence of bite marks is significant here.

“The most likely scenario is Tiny was engaged with Dan and I have no doubt she was coiled round him and there is a point where she either takes hold of him unexpectedly or tripped him up or some other mechanism.

“And she then makes off, maybe because of the shock of him falling over or because of his reaction.

“I do not believe in any way it was aggression from Tiny nor a confrontation, if anything it was a show of affection, a moment of peace.”

The family said earlier in proceedings Mr Brandon may have suffered an injury when falling that could have played a part.

But the coroner said: “Having accepted the cause of death was asphyxiation and that Dan is found on the floor unresponsive, we have nothing immediately obvious other than Tiny.

“A fall that saw him become unconscious would have left further signs and there were none of these.”

 

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