Deadly elephant tranquiliser caused teen suicide, inquest hears

A teenager killed himself by taking a drug so powerful it is used to anaesthetise elephants '“ and can be absorbed through the skin.

Friday, 24th March 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 27th March 2017, 1:18 pm
Emergency services were called to a chemical incident at Grove Road in Worthing yesterday, where an 18-year-old man died. Picture: Eddie Mitchell SUS-160830-125745001

This was heard at an inquest into the death of Abu Bokker Ali, whose body was found on August 29 at his home in Grove Road, Worthing by his brother, who was then 16.

Following investigations by police, it is believed the 18-year-old had purchased carfentanil using bitcoins on the dark web, the inquest heard. The drug is 1,000 times stronger than morphine and is used to sedate large animals like elephants.

Coroner Christopher Wilkinson said after coming in contact with the drug, the teenager would have become unconscious almost instantly and died soon after.

Emergency services were called to a chemical incident at Grove Road in Worthing yesterday, where an 18-year-old man died. Picture: Eddie Mitchell SUS-160830-125809001

He was ‘disturbed’ that the teenager was able to find the drug online – but added he was at ‘a complete loss’ in how to prevent someone else doing it.

“It is terribly drastic and terribly sad,” he said, and added: “The extent of the research and efforts he had gone to indicate to me an intent to take his own life.”

The discovery of the student’s body sparked a major emergency services operation. The house was evacuated and Grove Road was temporarily closed while a specialist team from South East Coast Ambulance Service was sent into the property wearing hazmat suits to put Mr Bokker Ali’s body in a chemical bio-hazard bag.

His foster parents and brother also had to be medically treated in a way which Mr Wilkinson described as ‘distressing for all of you’, but did not suffer any affects from the drug.

Emergency services were called to a chemical incident at Grove Road in Worthing yesterday, where an 18-year-old man died. Picture: Eddie Mitchell SUS-160830-125733001

The inquest heard how Mr Bokker Ali, a fitness fan, used to regularly receive packages to his home address.

In the days leading up to his death, he told his brother not to open the packages.

Mr Wilkinson said it was not clear whether he had bought the drug in small batches or one package contained the drug and the others were a decoy.

Notes were found by his body saying what he had done and why, leading his foster mother Valarie Fryer to think he was ‘very determined’ to carry out his plan.

Emergency services were called to a chemical incident at Grove Road in Worthing yesterday, where an 18-year-old man died. Picture: Eddie Mitchell SUS-160830-125721001

The inquest heard that the teenager was plagued with self-image issues, which the coroner believed contributed to his death.

Mr Bokker Ali was put into foster care at age four with his brother following a traumatic upbringing, and showed signs of anxious behaviour.

At age 13, his anxiety led to him taking a year off school. He ended counselling with mental health services because he did not find them beneficial.

He was due to study sport science at university after getting good A-Level results.

Emergency services were called to a chemical incident at Grove Road in Worthing yesterday, where an 18-year-old man died. Picture: Eddie Mitchell SUS-160830-125809001

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Emergency services were called to a chemical incident at Grove Road in Worthing yesterday, where an 18-year-old man died. Picture: Eddie Mitchell SUS-160830-125733001

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Emergency services were called to a chemical incident at Grove Road in Worthing yesterday, where an 18-year-old man died. Picture: Eddie Mitchell SUS-160830-125721001