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Composer Andrew Muriel found dead in London hotel after cocaine binge

By Guttz, Dec 15, 2010 | |
  1. Guttz
    Body of top partner at Miriam Clegg's law firm was found naked after cocaine binge in five-star London hotel.

    Staff at a London hotel had to kick down the door of a high-flying lawyer and composer and found him dead on the floor from a cocktail of cocaine and alcohol, an inquest heard today.

    Andrew Muriel, a 57-year-old father of four and one of the world’s leading aviation finance lawyers, had checked into the Sheraton Park in Knightsbridge three days earlier.

    Fears for his safety grew when he failed to pick up the newspaper from outside his door.

    Once inside the room staff found the him lying naked on the floor with white powder and a rolled up bank note nearby.

    Toxicology reports showed he had three times the normal recreational amount of cocaine in his system and he may have been dead for three days.

    The London-born lawyer was a Moscow-based partner in law firm DLA Piper, the firm with which Nick Clegg's wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez is head of Trade, and lived in Russia with his wife.

    In his spare time he worked as a composer using the name Andrew J Wight and his works include Tommorrowland, one of the first English language musicals performed in Moscow in 1999.

    His second musical Mother Russia was performed at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2008 and two of his songs were named in the Sofia Festival of Top 100 Musicals of the 20th Century.

    The inquest was told Mr Muriel checked into the Sheraton Park Tower on September 27 last year.

    Three days later staff noticed a newspaper delivered the day before had not been touched and a number of parcels had not been collected.

    Further investigation revealed he had not used the phone or room service during his stay.

    Mark Burrows, head of risk management at the hotel, visited Mr Muriel's room just after 9am on September 30.

    Coroner Dr Paul Knapman said: 'He said that there was a do not disturb sign on the door and no reply so he opened it with a key card but found the internal metal security bar locked.

    'He forced entry and found a white male lying naked on his side on the floor next to the bed. Nearby was found white powder and a rolled up banknote.'

    Pathologist Dr Peter Wilkins told the hearing: 'The toxicology reports found the presence of the metabolite of cocaine at 1.77 milligrammes per litre of blood. The typical recreational level is 0.611 milligrammes. This is significantly higher.'

    There was also alcohol in his blood which it is believed would have been high at the time of death, but it was not possible to estimate how much he had drunk.

    Dr Knapman recorded a verdict of death by non-dependant drug misuse caused by alcohol and cocaine toxicity with an enlarged heart and inflammation of the liver.

    He said: 'The cocaine I am sure had an effect upon his heart and ultimately, unfortunately, caused his death.'

    Mr Muriel’s wife, Iben, and one of his sons attended today’s inquest at Westminster Coroners Court but were too upset to discuss the tragedy.

    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Last updated at 5:39 PM on 15th December 2010


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