A MAN is demanding answers over a near five-year delay to an inquest into his brother's death.

Mystery still surrounds the death of Peter Henderson, whose body was found at his flat in Danvers Road, Rose Hill, Oxford, in July 2002.

Three men were arrested in connection with the 58-year-old's death, but were eventually released without charge.

The case was passed to the coroner in 2004, but Mr Henderson's brother Alex, 75, is still waiting for a verdict on how Peter died.

He is concerned it is now so long since the death that the chances of justice being done have diminished.

"The purpose of an inquest is to find out the cause of death. All I have been trying to get is some sort of verdict as to how Peter died," he said.

"I'm absolutely disgusted with the coroner's office and the coroner. It doesn't take much to reply to a letter to let me know that there's going to be a delay of however long, but I have not received any information whatsoever."

He added: "My idea of getting justice for somebody who has been found dead in suspicious circumstances is purely and simply to have an inquest to find out what the cause was and, if anyone is found responsible, for charges to be laid."

Mr Henderson, who lives in Southsea, Hampshire, has raised the matter with his MP, Mike Hancock, who wrote to Oxfordshire Coroner Nicholas Gardiner requesting an investigation into the delay.

An inquest has now been scheduled for Tuesday, May 1. Alex Henderson said: "I will go to the court on the day and, if it doesn't go ahead, I'll take it up with the Lord Chancellor."

In 2002, police said Peter Henderson had died of head injuries. They believed he had either slipped or was murdered.

Mr Henderson said: "It has been so long since Peter died that the original coroner's officer who was dealing with the case has left.

"Who knows whether the three people arrested, or residents of the flats, who might be important witnesses, are still alive?"

"I realise Peter was an alcoholic, but it should not lead to a lack of interest in determining exactly how he met an untimely death."

Mr Gardiner said the backlog in hearings was because of the inquests into the deaths of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said he would review the file on Peter Henderson's death following the request from his brother.

Alex Henderson said: "If they can't handle it themselves, they should get more support or hand cases over to someone else.

"If I passed away, there would be no other members of the family to chase this up. It would die with me."