COUNTY NEWS: Deadly elephant tranquiliser caused teen suicide, inquest hears

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
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

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

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.

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

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

Following investigations by police, it is believed the 18-year-old had purchased the drug online, the inquest heard. The drug is many times stronger than morphine and is used to sedate large animals like elephants.

Coroner Christopher Wilkinson said 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.

It is terribly drastic and terribly sad

Christopher Wilkinson

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 effects of the drug.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

If you would like to speak to Samaritans, call 116 13.

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