A DISPUTE over the fitness of a vital witness to give live evidence in a 'completely unique' inquest is set to rumble on after the case was adjourned for a second time.

Christopher Crosthwaite, 40, from Barrow, died on October 12, 2021.

The inquest was due to be concluded over an estimated six hours on June 7 at Cockermouth Coroner's Court.

However Assistant Coroner for Cumbria Dr Nick Shaw was not happy to go ahead without the presence of Jayne Braithwaite, a mental health professional from the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, who was one of the last people to see Mr Crosthwaite alive.

Dr Shaw explained why the case was unique, saying: "Never before has video of a medical hospital event been supplied.

"It certainly raised some questions I felt deserve to be answered (by Ms Braithwaite).

Present in the 90-minute review hearing were members of Mr Crosthwaite's family, Bronia Hartley, a family legal representative and a legal representative for Ms Braithwaite, Oliver Renton.

Mr Renton argues that Ms Braithwaite would be unable 'for the foreseeable future' to give evidence other than a written statement due to physical and mental ill-health, details of which Mr Renton had been instructed not to disclose to the court.

He said that Ms Braithwaite felt that she was being 'targeted' following a 'trawl through her social media' and that any further questions would go beyond the strict scope of the inquest.

Ms Hartley asserted that fitness to attend court and fitness to give evidence, via video link, are separate.

READ MORE: Inquest into death of Barrow man, 40, will be held without jury

Dr Shaw suggested video link attendance as a solution but Mr Renton said that physical attendance was not the issue but 'the impact of the process itself' on her health.

Ms Hartley said: "(Ms Braithwaite needs to) give evidence to answer questions about a mental health assessment which of course we’ll know relates to the final event in Mr Crosthwaite’s life."

No further details were revealed at the pre-inquest review about the circumstances of Mr Crosthwaite's death.

Dr Shaw reminded the court that an inquest is a fact-finding mission and does not seek to apportion blame.

He felt that he had enough evidence, thanks to the video, to form a 'robust' conclusion.

But asked Mr Crosthwaite’s partner, Jennifer, how she would like the inquest to proceed as 'the most important interested party'.

She said: "I'd like her to attend.

"On May 5 she was in Devon with her friends getting leathered, and then she's got a holiday booked.

"I understand we're not apportioning blame but without her answering the questions we have, how can we move on as a family, how can we understand what happened and why she did what she did?

"The way she carried on, posting all over social media, then saying she's too mentally ill to attend while going out round the town and going out for meals, going away, it's a disgrace.

"What about us as a family, what about our mental health?"

Dr Shaw adjourned the inquest for around three months and asked for a more detailed record for Ms Braithwaite to revisit her fitness to attend.