Daughter of Nigerian politician found dead in bath

The “highly intelligent” daughter of a prominent Nigerian politician died after suffering an epileptic fit at her Lisson Grove home, an inquest heard.

Yasmin El-Rufai, 25, was found dead in the bath at her Belvedere Heights home on November 27 last year.

Police were alerted by concerned members of Miss El-Rufai’s family when they could not contact her by phone, Westminster Coroner’s Court was told.

A post-mortem found there were no traces of her regular epilepsy drugs in her system and it was likely that the illness caused her death.

Miss El-Rufai, whose father was Nasir El-Rufai, was a highly intelligent and well-read woman who had studied professional law, the court heard.

She had gained a degree from the University of Bath and was studying for a master’s from the London School of Economics.

Miss El-Rufai’s academic success was particularly impressive as many people with epilepsy have relatively short-term memory which can impact their studies, the court was told.

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Having been diagnosed with the illness at 14, Miss El-Rufai had a history of seizures when she forgot to take her medication. She last suffered an attack in the summer of 2011.

Dr Simon Poole, who conducted the post-mortem, said that there was no evidence of drowning and no abnormal findings whatsoever in an examination of her body.

“A likely speculative explanation is there was some abnormal discharge from the brain,” he said.

“Aside from the effect that has on the limbs, it can also lead to dysfunction of the brain and the heart.”

Deputy coroner Shirley Radcliffe said that Miss El-Rufai was a very bright and capable woman who was functioning at a very high level.

She ruled her death was due to natural causes and was consistent with epilepsy.

Mr El-Rufai is a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party in Nigeria where he was the minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. He was also a former Director General of the country’s head privatisation agency which earned him the nickname Mr Demolition for some of his planning policies.