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Mystery surrounds death of Wymondham man in India, as coroner records an open conclusion

PUBLISHED: 17:37 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 18:18 16 March 2017

Norfolk Coroner's Court. Picture: Simon Finlay

Norfolk Coroner's Court. Picture: Simon Finlay

Archant Norfolk Copyright

An open verdict has been recorded at an inquest into the death of a traveller from Norfolk found with drugs in his system in his hotel room in India.

Steven Perfect, 36, of Maple Close, Wymondham, flew out to the country on December 5, 2013 to attend a friend’s wedding and do some travelling. He was due to fly home on December 28.

However, the police were called in after he was reported missing on December 22 and he was discovered at the Cap’s Corner hotel in Calangute, Goa.

At an inquest into his death at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on Thursday, senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said Mr Perfect arrived in Goa on December 20, and sent his mother a text message. Mrs Lake said: “He said he should have gone [to Goa] first as the sun was shining and it was more tourist-friendly.”

But on December 22, hotel owner Capistrano Gomes called the police when Mr Perfect had not been seen for two days.

His mother had sent him text messages on December 21 and 24, but received no reply.

The inquest heard that police officers in India, whose names were only given as Mr Manog and Mr Gautam, visited Mr Perfect’s hotel room and found him dead in bed.

An autopsy carried out at the Goa Medical College on January 3, 2014, did not find a clear cause of death.

It was believed a toxicology report was carried out in India, but Mrs Lake said: “Despite pressure from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we have been unable to obtain any toxicology report.”

Another postmortem took place in the UK on January 16, with a toxicology report. It was found Mr Perfect had fatty liver disease and had codeine, a drug used for pain relief, and diazepam, which is used to treat anxiety, in his system.

Mrs Perfect said her son would take diazepam as he was a nervous flyer.

Recording an open conclusion, Mrs Lake said: “There was evidence of natural disease, which would be the cause of death if the toxicology did not reveal any other cause.

“Toxicology evidence is very limited so it is unable to be ascertained whether the codeine and diazepam found played any part in his death,”

She added that, due to a lack of evidence, she would have to record an open conclusion.

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