Aide to Artist Hockney Drank Drain Cleaner

Coroner rules out foul play in assistant's death

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 30, 2013 11:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – A young assistant to British artist David Hockney died when he drank acid after taking drugs and alcohol at the painter's home, a coroner has ruled. Dominic Elliott, 23, died after drinking a household drain cleaner made of sulfuric acid in March. It's still not clear why, or whether it was an accident, but the coroner ruled today that there were no suspicious circumstances in the death. A post-mortem examination showed that Elliott had taken cocaine and other drugs before he died. (The BBC terms it a "misadventure" and says it doesn't appear to have been a suicide attempt.)

Hockney's former partner, John Fitzherbert, earlier testified that he and Elliott had smoked cannabis and consumed alcohol at Hockney's house in northeastern England the day before the death. The 75-year-old Hockney, one of Britain's best-known artists, said in a statement he was asleep at the time and didn't know what Fitzherbert and Elliott had been doing that day.

A file photo of British artist David Hockney.
A file photo of British artist David Hockney.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)
British artist David Hockney passes one of his paintings at a German exhibition in 2012.
British artist David Hockney passes one of his paintings at a German exhibition in 2012.   (AP Photo/dapd, Tim Schulz)
This is a  general view of  British artist David Hockney's house in northeastern England.
This is a general view of British artist David Hockney's house in northeastern England.   (AP Photo/Amy Murphy/PA)
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