Stephen Barton, a lance corporal with the Welsh Guards, died from the condition called adult death syndrome, a Woking inquest was told on Thursday.

Deputy Coroner for Surrey, Karin Englehart, heard how the popular 29-year-old had been enjoying a pub crawl with army friends when the group decided to buy a takeaway from a late night food bar.

The inquest heard that L Cpl Barton was standing in the queue at Tony’s Fish Bar in the High Street when he suddenly collapsed and fell to the ground. His panic-stricken friends ran to his rescue and raised the alarm.

Nearby police, who had been patrolling in Aldershot town centre during the busy Saturday night, tried to resuscitate him as they waited for paramedics to arrive.

He was then rushed to the casualty department of Frimley Park Hospital where he was certified dead as a result of a cardiac arrest.

Consultant pathologist Michael Hall, who carried out a post-mortem examination on the South Wales man’s body, was unable to find an obvious cause of death.

He said that L Cpl Barton probably died from the condition known as sudden death syndrome, which largely affects younger people.

“It causes abnormal heart rhythms and can cause fainting episodes or, in more extreme cases, it can lead to death,” he said.

“When I examined Mr Barton, there was nothing wrong with his heart.

“He was three times over the drink driving limit but that in itself would not have caused death.”

The inquest heard how L Cpl Barton had been serving in the army at Aldershot at the time of his death on October 17.

He had joined up more than 13 years ago, at the age of 16.

The inquest was told how his family had a history of heart problems.

His mother had died at the age of 44 from a heart-related condition and his father suffered from angina.

L Cpl Barton, of Penydarren, Merthyr Tydfil, had suffered a fainting episode just weeks before his death, for which he required hospital treatment.

A verdict of death from natural causes was recorded.

After the inquest, Anna Giordanno, who works in Tony’s Fish Bar said: “He was a regular customer and it is a terrible tragedy.

“He had been in a couple of days before and asked for some fish and chips.

“He didn’t have any money, so I said he could pay me whenever he wanted.

“On the night that he died, a boy came running into the shop and said that someone was lying on the floor of the public toilets opposite the shop.

“My husband Tony rang the ambulance and police. They arrived shortly after and found that he was dead.”