Published: 09 September, 2010
by JOSIE HINTON
MARTIN Davies, the leader of Camden’s Conservative group who died suddenly aged just 45, had succumbed to a hidden liver condition.
An inquest at St Pancras Coroner’s Court was told on Thursday that the popular councillor, who took charge of the Tory group after May’s council elections, was unaware of the problem.
Cllr Davies, who had led an active and healthy lifestyle, died in June after collapsing in the bathroom of his Ornan Road flat, in Belsize Park. Paramedics found no signs of life when they arrived at the scene, the court heard.
A post-mortem examination confirmed he had died from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Giving evidence at the inquest, Richard Boaste, Cllr Davies’s partner of 11 years, said he had been suffering with flu-like symptoms in the days before his death but was not overly concerned about his health.
“It wasn’t until the few days before his death that he obviously wasn’t well,” He said. “He just said he was feeling really lethargic and bloated.”
The court heard how Cllr Davies, a former head of Age Concern in Westminster, spoke to an out-of-hours doctor the night before he died when his symptoms had not improved, but was reassured that he had no reason to be concerned.
He continued to feel unwell throughout the night.
“When I got up the next morning he was already dressed and lying on the sofa,” Mr Boaste told the inquest. “He said he couldn’t sleep because he was really uncomfortable. He didn’t want to disturb me because he knew I had a long day ahead so he’d got up at about 3am.”
Mr Boaste, a theatre director, was the last person to see his partner alive when he left for work at around 9am. But later that morning Cllr Davies sent an email to one of his fellow councillors discussing council business.
He was later found collapsed by a housekeeper at around 1.30pm after colleagues had been unable to reach him by phone.
Recording a verdict of natural causes, coroner Selina Lynch said: “Unfortunately it does happen that some people do have some natural disease that remains silent until close to their death.”
Mr Boaste added: “If anybody should have died from liver failure it should have been me – Martin didn’t even drink, and I smoke like a trooper and drink like a fish.”