A CHEF died after being hit with a ladle during a fight with one of his colleagues, an inquest was told.

Police launched a murder inquiry after the body of Xiu Bin Wang was found in his room above the China Chef takeaway in Brookley Road, Brockenhurst.

The 33-year-old was found to have suffered a fatal head injury caused by a "forceful" blow.

Fellow chef Zhu Long Guo was detained after indicating that he struck Mr Wang with a ladle during a row the night before.

But police have been unable to establish exactly how - or when - Mr Wang received the injury which killed him, the inquest was told.

Senior coroner Grahame Short said he had no alternative but to record an "open" conclusion.

Mr Wang was found dead at lunchtime on August 20 last year.

About 12 hours earlier he had been involved in a violent altercation with Mr Guo following a argument over privacy issues relating to social media.

Det Con Brad Wanless told the inquest that Mr Guo, who does not speak English, was arrested at the scene.

He added: "He was taken to the kitchen and appeared to indicate that he had struck the deceased on the head with a ladle.

"A ladle was seized and there was a thorough investigation.

"All the evidence was collated and presented to the Crown Prosecution Service. They provided advice and as a result no further action was taken in respect of Mr Guo.

"Mr Guo has raised the issue of self defence."

Det Con Wanless confirmed that Mr Wang could have suffered an injury before or after the fight, adding: "It might have been caused accidentally."

Mr Guo, of Bournemouth, who was also hurt in the late-night altercation, said: "I don't know why he (Mr Wang) burst into anger.

"He stood up and lunged at me. I resisted him - I pushed him away.

"He attacked me again and we started fighting. The following day I realised I had used a ladle."

Asked if he had struck Mr Wang on the head with the implement he replied: "Perhaps, maybe."

The coroner said: "It could have been another object that hit his head. He could have hit his head against a hard surface - I cannot tell.

"It was a forceful blow that may have been a ladle.

"I do not accept that there is a clear causal link between the admitted blow with the ladle and the death of Mr Wang. There is a possibility it was an accidental death."