A HITMAN serving life at Full Sutton Jail for a gangland murder died at York Hospital after medics battled in vain against a range of ailments.

An inquest was held in York yesterday into the death of John O’Flynn, who was jailed in 2007 for gunning down a career criminal called George Francis.

The 63-year-old victim, said to have begun his career as a small-time enforcer for the Kray and Richardson crime families in the 1960s, was reportedly suspected of laundering gold bullion from the notorious Brink’s Mat gold robbery in 1983 at a Heathrow warehouse.

O’Flynn, who smoked a cigarette in the street before the shooting in 2003 in Bermondsey, South London, was caught after his DNA was found on the butt he left behind.

He and another defendant, who had 120 convictions between them and were paid £30,000 to carry out the killing, were found guilty of murder by an Old Bailey jury and were jailed for a minimum of 20 years. The judge told them they were both “ruthless, determined criminals intent on the use of extreme violence as and when required.”

O’Flynn ended up at Full Sutton, the top-security jail near Stamford Bridge. Yesterday’s inquest at New Earswick Folk Hall heard that O’Flynn died at York Hospital in November 2012 after being taken there from the prison for surgery on a foot ulcer.

Coroner Jonathan Leach, who concluded he died of natural causes, said he suffered complications including pneumonia, cardiac arrest and a brain injury.

He said O’Flynn had a history of Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, for which he was prescribed medication, but he had continued to smoke heavily.

He had been taken to the hospital earlier in 2012 but refused surgery on the ulcer and could not be persuaded to stay.

He returned to the hospital at the end of October, where he was found to have a chest infection and was prescribed antibiotics and went into intensive care, and his condition initially appeared to be improving before its subsequent, fatal deterioration.