An inquest has heard that a fractured hip contributed to the death of a serial killer who preyed on gay men in the early 1990s.

Colin Ireland, dubbed the ‘Gay Slayer’ for his murder of five gay men in 1993, was discovered dead in his prison cell a week ago.

Before he died at Wakefield prison, Ireland, who had been sentenced to whole life incarceration, fell in the yard, Wakefield Coroner’s Court has heard.

The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that Coroner’s Officer Anthony Lancaster said Ireland had fractured his hip earlier this month in the prison’s exercise area.

After medical attention, he needed a Zimmer frame or wheelchair to get around.

Ten days later, he was found face-down on his prison cell floor.

A post mortem cited pulmonary fibrosis and the fractured hip as preliminary causes of death.

All of Ireland’s murders took place in 1993 and involved men he had met at the Coleherne Pub in Earls Court, London and later killed in their own homes.

Ireland called the Samaritans and The Sun newspaper after murdering his first victim, choreographer Peter Walker. He expressed his intention to seek fame by becoming a serial killer.

Later, he would call police to ask why they had not linked the next three murders.

After Peter Walker, Ireland killed Christopher Dunn a 37-year-old librarian, Perry Bradley III, 35, the son of a US Congressman, Andrew Collier, 33, and Emanuel Spiteri, 41. He also killed Andrew Collier’s pet cat.

Ireland consistently denied being gay himself, saying he posed as gay to gain access to men’s homes where he could then carry out the killings.

He reportedly told investigators gays “keep their mouths shut and don’t tell the police things”.

He admitted all his crimes at the Old Bailey on 20 December 1993.

The inquest was adjourned pending further reports.