Former Charterhouse pupil who plunged to death on ski holiday ‘had taken designer drug Dr Death’

A skiier found at the bottom of an icy 300ft rock face had traces of a designer drug dubbed ‘Dr Death’ in his system, an inquest heard.

Myles Robinson, 23, died of multiple injuries including a severe head trauma after a night out drinking with friends.

His body was found in Wengen, Switzerland, six days after he disappeared and he was missing his shoes and a sock.

Myles had spent the evening with his sister and close friends drinking and chatting – but after dropping a family friend off outside her hotel he was never seen again.

After his body was discovered extensive police enquiries were made to rule out any sort of foul play – including murder, kidnap or assault.

But both Swiss and British police found there was an ‘absence of information’ and no proper conclusions could be made about why or how he made the 25 minute journey from his resort to the place of his death.

After leaving Ms O’Brian at her hotel at around 2.50am, Mr Robinson’s phone made a call to a friend’s number at 3.26am.

But the call never connected, and as it was to the first person listed in his directory it has always been put down to an error.

His family’s apartment, where his parents and sister Cara were sleeping, was near by, but Mr Robinson failed to arrive back.

Myles, who went to Charterhouse School and Newcastle University, was last seen at the Blue Monkey bar in Wengen and went missing from his hotel in the early hours of December 22 2009.

A post mortem examination was carried out in Switzerland and then a second examination was done at St George’s Hospital in southwest London by Dr Nathanial Carey.

The pathologist said: ‘I found multiple injuries on the external surfaces of the body, the head, neck, trunk, upper and lower limbs of the body.

‘Internally there were extensive signs of injury with widespread fractures of the limbs, of the spine of the kind that you would expect in a substantial fall.’

The doctor said due to a very serious head injury Myles would have ‘survived only a very short period of time, probably only seconds’ after the fall.

According to a toxicology report he had consumed more than two and a half times the legal limit of alcohol on the night of his death.

A faint trace of designer drug para-Methoxyamphetamine was also found in his system.

The drug, commonly known as PMA or Dr Death, is described as a ‘mind altering substance’.

Dr Carey said the report from the Swiss authorities showed only an ‘indication of a presence’ of the drug.

He added: ‘This is unsatisfactory because it doesn’t say it is definitely present.’

Coroner Dr Paul Knapman added: ‘Just because someone had a drug doesn’t mean they voluntarily took it.’

He said there was a possibility Mr Robinson, who studied business and economics, had his drink spiked.

DSI Jill Bailey, from the Met Police’s Homicide and Serious Crime Unit, said there was no definite conclusion that could be found from all the investigations.

‘There is an absence of information to point us in one direction or another,’ she said.

‘One of the search teams did go to the top of the area (where he was found) and they found it was particularly icy and dangerous and had to use ropes to secure themselves.’

Recording an open verdict, coroner Dr Paul Knapman said: ‘It seems to be that the most likely explanation is an accident but other possibilities have not been totally explained.

‘This is a terrible tragedy of a young man with every expectation of a happy and successful future in front of him, dying suddenly in these circumstances.’

The coroner said there were no signs of suicide or of anything sinister – but that if any other evidence came to light it should be referred back to the Swiss authorities.

Speaking after the inquest Cara Robinson, 27, said: ‘He was just a really outgoing, bubbly, lively, sporty, young fun kid to be around.’  Describing Myles’ mood before his death, she added: ‘He probably couldn’t have been happier. It hadn’t been a very easy time to get a job and he had got his first job and couldn’t wait as the next stage of his life was about to start.’

Her mum, care assistant Sarah, said: ‘We went skiing pretty much every year. He had been skiing since he was four.

‘He loved sport, it was his big thing in his life.’  The family said they ‘totally agreed’ with the coroner’s open verdict.

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Metropolitan Police Response to Dr. Paul Knapman Over Fatal Shooting of Mark Saunders

The requests and recommendations made by Westminster Coroner, Dr. Paul Knapman concerning the death of barrister Mark Saunders have now been responded to by the Mtroploitan Police Authority. The report commences:

‘Following the fatal shooting of Mr. Mark Saunders on 6th May 2008 in Markham Square, London, SW3, and the subsequent Coroner’s inquest, members of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) requested a report that details how the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS):’

  • ‘managed the incident that culminated in the death of Mr. Saunders and
  • has responded to the issues arising out of the inquest.’

Full details of the issues raised by Dr. Knapman following the inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court and the findings of the Metroploitan Police Authority report can be viewed by clicking here.

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Dr. Paul Knapman condemns ‘money wasted’ in baby death case

 

From the BBC, 0th March 2011

Westminster Coroner;s Court

A coroner has attacked the amount of public money “wasted” in the tragic case of an 11-month-old baby who was thought to have starved to death.

The body of the baby boy was found emaciated in his north-west London family flat on 8 March 2010.

His 29-year-old mother died from illness and HIV two days later, Westminster Coroner’s Court heard.

Coroner Dr Paul Knapman said: “Hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money has been wasted in this tragic story.”

He adjourned the inquest after it was revealed that the baby’s father had not seen key documents in the case.

Dr Knapman spoke of the vast amounts of public money that had already been spent on the case, and suggested the combined cost could total over £1m.

“Reference has been made to the hundreds and hundreds of people, almost entirely in the public services, who have been involved,” he said.

“I had hoped to hear the tragic case today and conclude the matter.

“However having heard from counsel representing the father and bearing in mind the High Court’s present view upon these issues, with no enthusiasm whatsoever, I agree to an adjournment.”

Dr Knapman said the money spent on the case included the payment of legal aid for baby’s mother, who entered the UK illegally in 2005.

Further expenses included costs of housing, health, social and police services as well as the translation services required to communicate with the mother as she did not speak English.

Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Paul Clack said it had taken “many months” to compile the 41 statements made by police into the report.

Mr Clack described how the baby was found in filthy conditions after his mother had called for an ambulance to say the baby was having difficulty breathing.

A report read by Det Insp Clack described the bedroom where the baby was found as “untidy and dirty” and “looked like someone had emptied a bin liner over the floor”.

A plate with the remains of cereal and crisps was found in the baby’s cot, the court heard.

The mother was arrested on suspicion of child neglect but after being seen by a doctor, was taken to a west London hospital where she died two days later.

Dr Knapman said the inquest would be reviewed in April.

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Recommendations by Dr. Paul Knapman, Westminster Coroner in Case of Suicide of Son of Marquess of Queensbury

Dr. Paul Knapman, recording a verdict of suicide in the inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court into the death of Lord Milo Douglas, son of the Marquess of Queensbury,also recommended Claire Murdoch, chief executive of the central and north west London NHS trust, provide ‘simple diagrammatic representations’ of the mental health services be made available to many people, including police officers, doctors and families so they know how to deal with mental illness.

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Suicide Verdict in Case of Lord Milo Douglas, Son of Marquess of Queensbury

From Daily Mail 3rd March 2011

An aristocrat who killed himself days after begging to be admitted to hospital would still be alive if his calls for help had not been ignored, his distraught mother said today.

Lord Milo Douglas, 34, the son of the Marquess of Queensberry, was suffering manic depression, and had thoughts of harming himself or another person before throwing himself off a fifth floor balcony.

Despite a cry for help, he was not admitted to hospital and was treated at home in what were branded ‘serial failings’ by a leading mental health charity.

After the inquest his mother, Lady Queensberry, who attended the hearing with family members including his sister, Lady Kate, said she was “unsurprised” by the verdict of suicide, but feels her son was let down by doctors.

She said: ‘We were absolutely unsurprised with that verdict, but we continue to feel that if he had his cries for help acted on, particularly when he said he wanted to go in to hospital, he would be alive today.’

Chief executive of mental health charity SANE, Marjorie Wallace, said: ‘SANE is disturbed by the findings today which we believe demonstrate serial failures in the care and treatment of Lord Milo Douglas.

‘The evidence revealed that mentally ill people have no choice to be admitted to hospital and nowhere to turn when they feel that can no longer live in the community without being a risk to themselves.

‘Milo Douglas expressed a clear wish to be admitted to hospital before carrying out the suicide he had described in detail to some professionals.

‘Instead he was sent a series of different junior members of the crisis resolution team who failed to respond to the seriousness of his state of mind.

‘We believe that had his pleas for help been respected this tragedy, like so many we deal with on a daily basis would never have happened.

‘We question the whole policy of community care. We question the way that community care is being processed, sometimes at the cost of life.’

Westminster Coroner’s Court was told how during one psychotic episode he told his family he was ‘hearing voices’ and had warned his team he could’“jump off Beachy Head.’

But instead of admitting him in to care he was referred to a crisis resolution team by a nurse practitioner on July 14 2009 when he visited his GP.

It was recommended he be seen immediately and two people were sent to his house later that day.

After an assessment it was decided he could be dealt with at home.

Lord Douglas, who worked at charity Action Against Hunger UK, was seen every day except one over the next week, but by a different person each time.

His father, David, 12th Marquess of Queensberry, had previously been pleased with his son’s care following a previous episode of depression.

The inquest heard that nurse practitioners visited Lord Milo, and he only saw one doctor on Wednesday July 16 2009.

But six days later the teacher and charity worker was found dead by nine storey Reading Tower council block, on the Hallfield Estate, Bayswater, west London.

He had hurled himself over the fifth floor balcony following dinner at home with friends.

On top of his prescribed medication, a trace of temazepan was found in his blood, but was well below the lowest prescribable amount.

Supervisor of the crisis resolution team, Dr Philip Joseph, claimed they did everything they could to help Lord Milo, and that it was only with hindsight they could see how serious the problem was.

He told Westminster Coroner court: ‘If we knew that this was going to happen we would have admitted him to hospital.

‘Leading up to his death no one realized how serious he was about killing himself, not him, not the crisis resolution team and not his family.’

Recording a verdict of suicide, Dr Paul Knapman, said: ‘Lord Milo Douglas died from multiple injuries. At approximately 6.10am on July 21 2009 he was found dead, laying on the ground of  Reading Tower having been seen by members of the crisis resolution team approximately five times in the week before his death.

‘He nevertheless projected himself from the building and his balance of mind was disturbed by mental illness.

“His treatment by the crisis resolution team, whilst not perfect, was satisfactory and reasonable.

‘It can’t be said that the crisis resolution team were not seeing him, mostly on a daily basis.

‘The fact is of course that the people seeing him were either nurse practitioners or support staff.’

He recommended Claire Murdoch, chief executive of the central and north west London NHS trust, provide ‘simple diagrammatic representations’ of the mental health services be made available to many people, including police officers, doctors and families so they know how to deal with mental illness.

 

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Inquest Hears How Prince Charles polo friend ‘leapt to his death over health fears’

From the Daily Telegraph Andrew Hough  23 Feb 2011

A polo-playing friend of the Prince of Wales leapt to his death in front of a train with his arms outstretched after a series of health and business fears drove him to suicide, an inquest heard.

Millionaire Paul Castle, 54, dived in front of the London underground train in November last year despite insisting he was not depressed, Westminster coroner’s court was told.
The property tycoon, who had self-made and lost at least two fortunes, was said to be experiencing severe difficulties with his multi-million pound empire.
But his catalogue of health problems caused him jump in front of the Central line train during the lunchtime rushhour on November 17, the inquest heard.
The polo “legend”, known as “Castle” in sporting circles, suffered from heart, kidney, prostate, skin and oesophagus problems in the three years running up to his death, which had lead to an “unbelievable number of hospital admissions”.
Despite his health and financial worries, he had insisted to his doctor he was not depressed just four months before he took his own life, the court was told.

On Wednesday his inquest heard that just moments before his death he was captured on CCTV footage entering the Bond Street underground station, central London, wearing a sport jacket and glasses.
Footage then showed him walking to the end of the busy eastbound platform before jumping in front of horrified commuters into the path of a train with his “his hands outstretched as if diving”.
Despite his healthy lifestyle the father of two developed heart problems in 2007 followed by tumours on his skin and issues with his prostate and oesophagus, which needed hospital operations.
The businessman, who was due to marry for the fourth time, was also thought to be experiencing difficulties with his empire following the collapse of the property market.
Mr Castle, who started playing polo in the early 1990s, was also forced to close his Michelin-starred restaurant called The Goose in Britwell Salome, near Watlington Oxon.
He also owned his own private plane, a Ferrari and a Bentley, while his property empire stretched from St Moritz, Switzerland and France to London and Berkshire, where he had lived with fiancée Natalie Theo, a former fashion editor.

While specific details on his money problems were not discussed in court, Dr Paul Knapman, the coroner noted that “things were not going so well for him financially”.
Lynda Morris, for the Coroner, told the court that Mr Castle’s family described him as a “strong and wonderful man” who was there for his children “no matter what”.“He was a generous friend and polo legend,” she said. “He was energetic, infectiously enthusiastic and a fun loving personality.”Being the character he was he had to have it all. He embraced life and all its past times including polo, hunting, shooting, golf or walking on his grounds.”

Mr Castle became Britain’s youngest sponsor of a polo team and his Metropolitan team was a regular and successful fixture in the medium and gold scene, evening winning the Queens cup at the Guards.
Mr Castle achieved notoriety in 1997 when he was fined £5,000 and banned from playing for nine months for “abuse of the stick” after hitting an opponent over the head with a wooden mallet at the Guards Polo Club.
The court was told that he was enthusiastic about encouraging young talent and many players owe “him a debt of gratitude”.

In a statement read to the court his Harley Street doctor, Richard Cooper, said he had denied “point blank” being depressed, insisting he was “getting on with his life”.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Dr Knapman said Mr Castle had embarked on his pursuits with “gusto”.
He was a “very charismatic person of great energy and enthusiasm” who dealt with an “unbelievable number of hospital admissions and a huge number of medical problems”.
“He clearly had a variety of serious and distressing health issues, things were not going well and it appears that he decided, probably on impulse, to end his own life,” he said.

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Up To 40 Spies Set To Give Evidence In Inquset Into Death Of MI6 Agent Gareth Williams

Tuesday, 15 February 2011 -PA (From The Independent)

Up to 40 spies could give evidence anonymously at the inquest into the mysterious death of MI6 agent Gareth Williams, a coroner was told today.

Paul Knapman adjourned an inquiry into the 31-year-old’s death as Scotland Yard detectives wait for the results of a fresh round of forensic tests.

Counter-terrorism officers have interviewed “in the region of 40” of the expert codebreaker’s colleagues at MI6 and GCHQ, Westminster Coroner’s Court heard.

They have been passing on their findings to a team of investigators from the force’s Homicide and Serious Crime Command who are responsible for the inquiry.

The inquest heard that some or all of them could give evidence about Mr Williams, whose naked and decomposing body was found in a bag in the bath of his Pimlico flat last August.

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire admitted the likelihood of tracing a Mediterranean couple seen at Mr Williams’s home weeks before his death is diminishing.

She said it is “very unusual” for two teams of officers to be working on a suspicious death inquiry, but said the victim’s secretive occupation was the reason.

Speaking about forensic tests, she added: “We have done a phased submission of tests to the laboratory. We are still waiting for some outstanding tests that went out before Christmas.”

After a 10-minute hearing, Dr Knapman adjourned the inquest until Thursday March 31, but said it is not known whether it will go ahead then.

Dr Knapman said he had read a report summarising the forensic tests written by a police expert but added “it is a matter of some regret” that the inquest cannot go ahead.

He said the Mediterranean couple have not come forward, there are no new clues and it appears to be “less and less likely that something will happen”.

The coroner added: “The fact you must face is that in six months or so they have not come forward, this couple, have they?”

Mrs Sebire replied: “That is correct, sir.”

The senior detective added that a “raft” of forensic tests have taken place and she is still waiting for the results of some submitted six months ago and more recently.

Mrs Sebire said her team is dealing with the dead man’s private life, forensic tests and other inquiries while counter-terrorism officers are responsible for liaising with spy agencies.

She said she has regular meetings with her counterpart, passes instructions to him on who should be interviewed and could arrange to see a potential witness if necessary.

Dr Knapman said Mr Williams’ family expect a “thorough inquest” and was told they have “no problem whatsoever” with his colleagues being granted anonymity.

The pre-inquest hearing was told they were invited to attend today but did not come. They have appointed a solicitor to represent them.

Mr Williams, of Anglesey, North Wales, was found in a large North Face holdall, sealed by a padlock, at his top-floor flat in Alderney Street on August 23.

The mysterious discovery sparked a painstaking Scotland Yard investigation, worldwide media frenzy, and several outlandish conspiracy theories.

A battery of post-mortem tests have so far failed to determine how he died and police found it would have been impossible for him to have locked himself inside.

No evidence of drugs, alcohol or poisons have been found but police said anyone zipped inside the bag would have quickly found the temperature unbearable and suffocated within 30 minutes.

Investigators believe the fitness and fashion enthusiast probably died accidentally at the hands of a mystery bondage sex partner he may have met on London’s gay scene.

They found he enjoyed going to drag cabaret shows, had £15,000-worth of unworn women’s designer clothing in a wardrobe, and had visited bondage websites.

Police have released e-fit images of a young, casually-dressed Mediterranean couple who a neighbour buzzed through the communal doors of Mr Williams’s block in June or July.

Mr Williams was a mathematics prodigy who worked as a cipher and codes expert for GCHQ, the Government listening station, but had been on secondment to MI6.

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