An Oxford University professor with mental health problems died when his best friend restrained him in a headlock for 20 minutes after he vowed to kill him in an unprovoked violent assault, an inquest has heard.
Prof Steven Rawlings (pictured), 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 Southmoor, Oxfordshire, last January.
After becoming increasingly agitated, he threatened to kill the mathematician and began punching him in the face. The devout Sikh grabbed him in a headlock and pinned him to the ground.
Oxford coroner, Darren Salter, was told that the hold cut off Prof Rawlings' air supply and, coupled with the high amount of adrenaline in his system, led to him suffer a heart attack.
Dr Sivia was initially arrested on suspicion of murder, but the Crown Prosecution Service later dropped the case.
As they struggled, Dr Sivia restrained Prof Rawling for around 20 minutes until eventually he uttered the phrase "goodbye cruel world" and went limp.
"I thought this might be a ploy to get me to release him because it was so melodramatic," Dr Sivia told the inquest.
But when he realised he was not getting up, he then emailed the professor's wife to apologise for killing him.
Oxford coroner Darren Salter recorded a verdict of accidental death. (© Daily Telegraph, London)