Reaction to amyl nitrate caused married father’s death at cruising spot

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An inquest has head that the death of a married man on Clapham Common in June of this year was caused by the use of amyl nitrate.

Eric James, 46 of Lambeth, died early on 30 June after having sex with a man at the cruising spot, the Streatham Guardian reports. Police were told Mr James had taken the substance during the encounter.

Westminster Coroners Court heard that Mr James suffered a heart attack in reaction and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedic at 2.30am.

Deputy coroner, Dr Shirley Radcliffe, said: “It would appear that this death has been clearly linked with the use of poppers or amyl nitrate during a sexual encounter.

“Sadly this can lead to a very sudden death from an arrhythmia [irregular heartbeat] from which it is not possible to resuscitate the individual.”

It was concluded that Mr James had died of misadventure from the unintended consequences of using amyl nitrate.

He had been found with a small bottle of the chemical at the scene, according to Detective Rory Wilkinson of Wandsworth CID, who had initially suspected foul play. Two men were initially arrested.

However, during an investigation, the police found no evidence of a suspicious death.

Mr James was described as a loving father who suffered from bouts of depression and stress due to his bisexuality.

Dr Naseem Akbar from Balham Medical Centre submitted a statement saying the former IT worker had complained in 2002 of being bullied by homophobic gangs near his home. In 2010, he was allegedly beaten up, suffering head injuries requiring stitches. He had also been treated for stress and insomnia.