A man who was found dead in a street is believed to have died from a head injury after being punched and falling to the ground, an inquest heard.

Paul Lawrence was found lying in the road at around 6.35am on Sunday, January 28.

Ambulance crews went to Gladonian Road in Littlehampton where they found the 51-year-old.

They initially called Sussex Police stating it was a “suspicious cardiac arrest” an inquest opening in Chichester heard this morning.

The Argus: Tributes poured in for Paul Lawrence following his death last monthTributes poured in for Paul Lawrence following his death last month (Image: Sussex Police)

A 16-year-old boy also from the town was arrested on suspicion of murder but was released on bail.

Coroner Gareth Jones said: “On the basis that it is under investigation I have to suspend the inquest while criminal proceedings are ongoing.

“He is believed to have been punched by a male.”

The inquest heard that Mr Lawrence, who worked as a plumber and gas engineer, had a head injury consistent with a fall.

The coroner said that he was identified by his mother Marie Lawrence.

A post mortem was carried out on January 30.

A provisional inquest date has been set for September 2.

Tributes from friends and family poured in for Mr Lawrence, who lived in Cheal Way, half a mile from where he died.

Paul’s daughters Louise and Josephine described their dad as “kind, generous and always laughing or smiling with the most reassuring smiley eyes”.