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Arrest warrant issued after Belsize Park man who found gay lover dead in living room fails to attend inquest

PUBLISHED: 15:32 08 February 2016 | UPDATED: 17:15 08 February 2016

St Pancras Coroner's Cour (Pic: Google)

St Pancras Coroner's Cour (Pic: Google)

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A man who found his gay lover from St John’s Wood dead in the living room of his flat in Belsize Park is facing an arrest warrant after he failed to show up to an inquest into the death today.

Mary Hassell, Senior Coroner for inner North London, issued an arrest warrant for Cameron York, of Belsize Avenue, after he failed to make it to St Pancras Coroner’s court for an inquest into the death of Mohammad Ishrat Saleem, 53, of Casey Close in St John’s Wood.

Ms Hassell agreed to adjourn the inquest after Mr Saleem’s wife, Fatima, requested the chance to talk directly to her husband’s lover before the coroner reaches her final conclusions as to the cause of his death on September 11 last year.

Appealing to Ms Hassell to hear evidence from Mr York before making her conclusions, Mrs Saleem, who had separated from her husband and moved away with their children before his death, said: “Why is he hiding from me? I have heard nothing from him at all and want to see him and ask him what’s going on.”

Coroners have powers to arrest witnesses to ensure they attend and give evidence to inquests. There is no suggestion of criminal involvement in the death.

The inquest heard a written witness statement from Mr York in which he claims he invited Mr Saleem, a hairdresser, to his flat in Belsize Avenue on the evening of September 10 after they had met on the internet six weeks beforehand.

Mr York claimed Pakistani-born Mr Saleem, a former alcoholic, drank soft drinks and chatted before they went to the bedroom and had sex.

Mr York recalled Mr Saleem had complained of feeling ‘hot and cold’ during the evening but had not complained of any injury or health complaint and had seemed happy.

Mr York claimed he had drifted off to sleep at about 2am while Mr Saleem showered, having said he would head home.

He claims he woke alone at 10am the following morning before hurriedly heading out to have lunch with a friend.

When he arrived home shortly after 3pm he was “surprised” and “shocked” to find Mr Saleem’s body naked except for a towel on the floor of the living room. His body was kneeling against the sofa with his head on a pillow. Mr York found Mr Saleem had no pulse and began to ‘feel sick’ as he called 999, his witness statement said.

A police statement submitted to the coroner claimed Mr Saleem had blood coming from his nose but his body showed ‘no marks or injuries’ and there was no sign of struggle in the flat. His death was considered to be ‘non-suspicious’ by officers called to the scene.

Police later found an opened packet of Viagra substitute Kamagra, a non-prescription drug available in India but which is not legal to buy in the UK, in Mr Saleem’s coat pocket.

A statement from Mr Saleem’s GP which was read out to the court revealed he had been prescribed anti-depressants and tranquilizers to cope with depression and alcoholism after he split from his wife and was unable to see his children.

A toxicologist’s report found Mr Saleem had high levels of the euphoric drug GHB in his system and methyl amphetamine in his stomach and urine when he died.

The inquest, which was part-heard, has been adjourned until February 19, when Ms Hassell will reach her conclusions.

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