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Immigration detainee may have died from overdose, inquest told

by Phil Miller
at West London Coroner’s Court

A MAN held in immigration detention may have died after taking an overdose of medication while on suicide watch, an inquest jury heard today.

Amir Siman-Tov, a 41-year-old migrant from Morocco, was held at the privately run Colnbrook immigration removal centre near Heathrow.

On the morning of February 16 2016 he was taken to the local Hillingdon Hospital after apparently taking over a dozen codeine tablets.

The hospital ran tests which showed he had a “toxic” level of morphine in his bloodstream.

However, they discharged him around 5pm that same day and he was taken back to the detention centre, where he vomited repeatedly.

Expert witness Professor Sebastian Lucas, a consultant histopathologist, told West London Coroner’s Court today that the vomiting may have been due to the overdose.

He also suggested that it could be a consequence of “being bloody frightened of going back to a place he didn’t want to be in the first place.”

He added that the level of morphine in Mr Siman-Tov was “certainly consistent with killing people.”

The detainee stopped breathing in the early hours of the following morning and he was declared dead after 40 minutes.

Prof Lucas said that the passage of some 15 hours between taking the codeine and passing away was “very, very odd.”

The inquest into Mr Siman-Tov’s death has taken three years to start after repeated postponements.

Assistant coroner Dr Sean Cummings is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death, including why Mr Siman-Tov was discharged from hospital.

He is also hearing evidence from detention centre guards at Colnbrook, who are employed by Home Office contractor Mitie.

The inquest continues.

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