Date: 22 Nov 2017
Joe Daniels was found shot at his pub, the Red Cow pub in Folkestone, on 22 November 2017.
He was said to have been £100,000 in debt and to have been shot with his own gun. However, the Coroner said that they could not be sure that he had pulled the trigger.
The day before his death he had told his hairdresser that he had seen someone in his garden that he didn't recognise. He had also told his hairdresser that he needed to pay a £9,000 VAT bill and that if he didn't pay it that his pub would be shut down.
It was also noted that he had recently shown two guns that he had to a friend, but it was not known why he had had the guns.
The night before he died a girlfriend had stayed overnight with him and they had had a Chinese takeaway. The girlfriend said that during the night Joe Daniels had appeared restless and had got up numerous times through the night. However, his girlfriend said that she was unsure whether or not Joe Daniels had had a stomach ache because of the food they had eaten or whether it was something else. She said that Joe Daniels had told her that he had a meeting the following morning with a man called Vincent to discuss the lease on his pub which was due for renewal and noted that they were going to sign it together for five years and run the pub together and had made plans to buy decorations.
His girlfriend added that Joe Daniels had called her following the supposed meeting and had told her that it had been brilliant.
However, the brewery said that there had been no meeting and that they didn't have anyone working there by the name of Vincent.
As such, the inquest heard, that as there had been no CCTV on the premises, that it was not known whether any meeting had taken place at all.
Joe Daniels's girlfriend had arranged to meet him later that day for coffee in the centre of Folkestone, but when he didn't show up she became concerned and went to the pub to see if he was alright. On her way she met another man who Joe Daniels had owed £3,000 to which Joe Daniels had been due to repay that day and when they arrived at the pub together at 11.30am they found that the door to the residential part of the pub upstairs was ajar. They then found Joe Daniels dead by the back door of the pub next to the conservatory lying face down.
There was a pistol casing by his head and a pistol nearby with two unfired bullets in it.
The police and an ambulance were then called, but Joe Daniels was declared dead at 12.17pm.
It was noted that one of Joe Daniels's friends had called at the Red Cow at 11.10am but had found the front door locked and got no reply when knocking. He said that he had earlier exchanged text messages with Joe Daniels and expected him to be at the pub. He said that when he looked through the window all he saw was a newspaper and a jacket slumped over the bar and that after getting no reply he drove off.
Following an extensive investigation the police said that they were unable to determine whether anyone else had been in the pub at the time, adding that they were also unable to find any fingerprints on the pistol, although they noted that that was often difficult to do.
It was reported that the police did arrest a 23-year-old in connection with his death, but no charges were made although in November 2018 the police said that the man was still under investigation. A second arrest was made in February 2019, but no further developments are known.
The police said that they had also searched three other houses during their investigation for clues.
They said that they had reviewed over 1,000 hours of CCTV footage during their investigation as well as viewing dashcam footage and had also taken over 350 statements from people.
On 5 December 2017 the police appealed for the driver of a white van to come forward. They said that a white transit-style van had been seen parked outside the pub on the pavement between 9:30am and 10:30am and said that its driver might have witnessed something. The police said, 'There is no suggestion the driver of the van has done anything wrong'. They described the man as white, heavily built, between 30 and 50 years old, 5ft 10in tall and with short dark brown hair.
The inquest heard that it was not possible to say whether he had been shot by another person or whether he had shot himself, but noted that he had not left any notes indicating that he was going to take his life and had at the time been making medium and long term plans for his life.
His girlfriend noted that they had also been making plans to have a holiday in New York in 2018. She also said, 'Each day is the same, I am trying to move forward but there is no closure. It's like it has happened every day, I just take one day at a time. The whole of my future is gone, there is a massive void. We were a team, we used to say he was the entertainment manager and I was his princess. I feel hatred for the person that done it, but I don't want them to feel like they have won'.
The police noted that of his debts he had owed about £37,000 to various friends, none of whom knew that he was borrowing from other people or had any reason to suspect that he could not pay them back. It was heard that he was paying back his debts as and when he could.
However a report into his death stated, 'At the time, he had amassed a personal debt of more than £100,000 which he had little hope of repaying'.
The Coroner said, 'What I find is that the gun which was used was his own gun and his own ammunition on the balance of probabilities. Either he pulled the trigger or someone else did. I cannot say who pulled the trigger or why. I have no evidence before me that it was his intention to take his own life. Was this an accidental discharge of the firearm? I cannot say'.
The Coroner said that she ruled out unlawful killing, suicide and misadventure and returned a narrative verdict.
Following Joe Daniels's death, on 9 January 2018, the Red Cow public house was passed back to the brewery, Ei Publican Partnerships which was formerly Enterprise Inns and then sold to the Craft Union Pub Company and after refurbishment was reopened in June 2018.