There is insufficient evidence to conclude that property developer Scot Young committed suicide, a coroner has concluded.
The Scottish-born businessman died in a fall from his fourth floor flat in Marylebone, central London, last December. He was found impaled on the iron railings outside the building, in a scene described as “grisly” by passers-by.
Police described the death as “non-suspicious”.
Young had been embroiled in lengthy financial dispute with his estranged wife Michelle, during the course of which he served three months in prison for contempt of court after failing to provide financial details demanded by the High Court. Mrs Young was convinced he had hidden large sums in overseas tax havens but he denied this, insisting that he had gone bankrupt following the failure of a major property deal.
Finally, in November 2013, Mrs Young was awarded £20 million by the High Court. Mr Justice Moor claimed the sum represented half of her ex-husband’s remaining assets. She was unhappy with the ruling and continued to insist that Mr Young was worth “billions”.
The couple’s divorce was finalised shortly afterwards.
Now, following an inquest into the circumstances surrounding Mr Young’s sudden death, a coroner has declared that she cannot rule with certainty that he killed himself.
Mr Young’s girlfriend, Noelle Reno, told Westminster Coroner’s Court that he had received dozens of phone calls a day from his creditors and that she feared for his safety.
He had complained of pressure and stress and had high blood pressure, the Court heard, while a psychiatrist said the businessman had also suffered from bipolar disorder and manic depression.
A few days before his death, Mr Young had gone to hospital complaining that people were conspiring to kill him and saying he heard voices. He was treated for several days before being discharged on the day of his death.
Shortly before the fall, he had threatened to jump during a heated phone call with Ms Reno.
The circumstances surrounding his death had led to suggestions that Mr Young may have been murdered. A lawyer for his two daughters asked to court to consider marks on his body and the window frame which could suggest he not jumped deliberately.
But Assistant Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe concluded:
“There is insufficient evidence to determine his state of mind and intention when he came out of the window.”
But there was also nothing to suggest foul play, she added.
Meanwhile, Mrs Young has called for an independent inquiry into his business dealings, the paper states, saying the inquest would not uncover the truth.
Photo of Westminster Coroner’s Court by Ciaran Roarty via Flickr