Brit holidaymaker found dead in airport was denied flight for ‘being too drunk’

The family of a British holiday-maker found dead in Turkey are calling on the Foreign Office to pressure authorities into handing over a post-mortem report.

Stuart Tokam, 44, was found dead at an airport after being stopped from boarding a plane back to the UK on September 18, last year.

An inquest into his death was adjourned after a coroner said he could only record an “open conclusion” as the court had not received enough information.

Walthamstow Coroner’s Court heard Mr Tokam, who was born in Cameroon, was suffering with his mental health and had gone on a break to Turkey with a friend.

On the day he was due to return, he was barred from boarding the flight as airport staff thought he was too drunk.

He was then found hanging in another part of the airport, the inquest heard.

A toxicology report found Mr Tokam had 223microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of blood – two-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit.

In the report, Dr Susan Patterson, head of toxicology at Imperial College London, also found traces of methamphetamine in Mr Tokam’s urine, and diazepam – which he had been prescribed.

Forensic pathologist Dr Virginia Fitzpatrick-Swallow said the levels of alcohol and drugs were “not within a fatal range”, although Mr Tokam “may have experienced some degree of intoxication” before his death.

It was said a post-mortem was carried out in the southeastern province of Muğla,Turkey, before Dr Fitzpatrick-Swallow’s examination.

But authorities in Turkey have not provided any documents to the family or inquest.

The second post-mortem was not able to find any “defined ligature marks” and examination of the neck tissue did not find any significant bruising.

There were also no signs of disease or any other illness that would have contributed to the death, it was said.

Dr Fitzpatrick-Swallow said she was unable to give a cause of death.

She concluded: “I’m unable from a purely pathological perspective to provide hanging as a cause of death. The cause of death recorded is unascertained.”

Graeme Irving, a senior coroner at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, said although he has the power to summon witnesses in England and Wales, the office does not hold any power over foreign jurisdictions and is unable to demand the files from Turkey itself.

Mr Irving said the coroner’s office relied on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to use diplomatic pressure to obtain the documents.

He said: “Unfortunately the legal powers of the coroner’s court in the UK do not have any effect in Turkey. The FCO have to make inquiries with that other country.

“Sadly despite numerous requests made by the FCO no information has been forthcoming from the Turkish authorities at this stage and consequently given the lack of any information from the Turkish authorities I have made the decision to proceed with the inquest today.”

However he listened to pleas by the family to adjourn the inquest to ask the Foreign Office for help one last time.

Mr Tokam’s wife Vicky told the inquest she could not understand why Turkish authorities would not disclose the post-mortem report.

She said: “I have a lot of questions for the Turkish side. Questions I believe will now go unanswered about how he died and where he died and these questions I don’t think we are going to get answers to – that’s my main concern.

“Also if there was any CCTV in the airport and how he was left. How come that happened in the airport?”

Mr Irving said: “It seems to me that the only conclusion I will be able to arrive at in this inquest based on evidence before me is something called an open conclusion.

“The court recognised at the time of inquest there was insufficient evidence to make a proper conclusion about the death. It’s open to the coroner if further evidence is produced to ask for the opening of an inquest to incorporate new evidence into the inquest.”

Ms Tokam asked the coroner for an adjournment to go back to the Foreign Office before entering an open conclusion.

Mr Irving said: “I do apologise we won’t have any meaningful conclusion today. I will send a letter through to the FCO asking for a finalised position for this.

“I’m happy to say you have made forceful and reasonable requests for all the information you can possibly have for you and your children to gain closure from these tragic circumstances.”

The inquest was adjourned for a date to be fixed.