A HAMILTON policeman investigated an incident in a hotel involving Branxholme builder Anthony Mooney just two days before he mysteriously died of poisoning.
Mr Mooney, 46, died on the evening of Father’s Day 2008 from acute strychnine poisoning, Coroner Jacinta Heffey was told in Warrnambool yesterday.
Mr Mooney died after sharing fried chicken with his son Travis Mooney and step-son Jeremy Johnson at his historic bluestone home Arrandoovong.
This morning Hamilton police Senior Constable Anthony Pearson told the inquest he was among the first people to arrive at the property after being called to "a male going off".
He said Mr Mooney was blue in colour and looked dead.
Senior Constable Pearson said that in follow-up inquiries it was alleged that Mr Mooney had been involved in a fight at the Commercial Hotel two days prior to his death.
He said he viewed security camera footage at the hotel and there was no evidence of a direct assault.
The policeman said the footage showed Mr Mooney falling to the floor for about 10 seconds during a scuffle but he was apparently uninjured.
Senior Constable Pearson said he took a statement from the other man involved in the scuffle and a woman witness.
He said he initially thought Mr Mooney had died of pneumonia and understood it had nothing to do with anything that happened at the hotel.
The officer said it was about a month after Mr Mooney's death he heard there could have been another cause.
In Wednesday's opening day of what is expected to be a two-week inquest, the coroner heard Mr Mooney had ingested more than 400 milligrams of the poison, which was well in excess of the minimum fatal dose of 30 milligrams.
Forensic pharmacologist and toxicologist Professor Olaf Drummer said the dose could not have occurred by accident.
He said it was likely the poison was ingested orally and not long before Mr Mooney’s death.
The coroner this morning requested anyone with information about Mr Mooney's death to approach the court or police.
The inquest is continuing.