A young man died whilst socialising with his friends after taking a fatal amount of MDMA, an inquest heard. Gulzar Irfan Bhatti had livigin with a close friend at a flat on Walworth Road, and had taken the Class A drug shortly before beginning to “seize up”.
The 21-year-old, who was originally from Lahore in Pakistan, had begun to feel “very hot” during the early hours of February 4, 2021, and had left his friends to go to his room. Shortly afterwards, he stopped breathing and paramedics were called to the scene.
In a statement read aloud today at Inner South London Coroners Courts, Assistant Coroner Michelle Haste summarised the account of his friend Mohammad Khalil. She said: “They were socialising and Mr Bhatti was drinking and sat on the sofa when he began acting strangely. He was getting very hot and drinking lots of water. He went to his room and his arms began to seize up and he stopped breathing.”
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She added: “Mr Khalil gave his friend CPR and mouth-to-mouth but couldn’t save him so called for an ambulance. His eyes had rolled back and there was liquid coming out of his mouth.” Khalil also told police officers that he had “tasted his drink and was sick shortly after”.
Paramedics rushed to the scene and attempted to resuscitate Gulzar, which included making an incision to his airways. Tragically, he was pronounced dead by the London Ambulance Service at 2.51am after they noticed that there was no pulse, respirations and his pupils were fixed and dilated.
Police arrived at 3.20am after receiving reports of a suspected overdose, and upon examining the scene, they stated that his death was not believed to be suspicious. PC Miall said that the deceased “had a lengthy history of abusing ecstasy and cannabis” and had been with “a lot of his friends in his home” in the hours before he died.
A post-mortem examination by Dr Andreas Marnerides found no injury accounting for his death and two swabs from the lungs had tested negative for Covid-19. The toxicology report conducted by Dr Paterson found a high level of MDMA ecstasy as well as traces of cannabis in urine.
Dr Paterson noted that in the majority of MDMA overdose cases, the level of micrograms per millilitre of blood is usually between 0.6 to 3.7. Following examination of Gulzar’s blood and stomach contents, his consumption of the drug was “significantly higher” at 4.1micrograms. His cause of death was given as 1a) MDMA ecstasy overdose.
Ms Haste continued: “Having reviewed the evidence, I need to consider whether Mr Bhatti had any intention to take his life by this drug overdose or whether indeed it was an accidental overdose. My consideration of those matters will be reviewed in respect of the conclusion.
“In this inquest the conclusions I am considering in respect of this matter is the conclusion of suicide. For that conclusion I need to consider whether it was probable or not that the cause of death was deliberate or not. I am content that there is no evidence of intent for Mr Bhatti to take his life therefore I am not considering this as an appropriate conclusion.
“Therefore it seems to me the most appropriate conclusion is alcohol or drugs related. I must consider that it is probably the cause of death is more likely or not from the consumption of alcohol or drugs. It is very clear to me that Mr Bhatti very sadly ingested drugs at a fatal level which in turn led to his death and therefore it is appropriate to record drugs related as the conclusion in this case and that is the cause of death that I give.”
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