Tragedy of Nelson multi-storey car stack fall man

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THE death of a Nelson man who fell from the town's multi-storey car park has been given an open verdict because no one witnessed how it had happened.

Mr Murtaza Nawaz (31), of Hargreaves Street, died en route to Royal Blackburn Hospital after the fall on March 12th. The inquest opened on March 16th and was adjourned pending inquiries including toxicology tests.

When the hearing reopened yesterday, East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor said Mr Nawaz had reportedly used drugs a number of years ago, but had been given methadone and did not seem to be using any other drugs.

Mr Nawaz's sister Shabana said he had some time in hospital for treatment but had never suggested suicide and added: "He was a believing Muslim - he would never have had that thought."

And she added: "A week before, he as just normal, he was mellow ... he was fine."

He was working to get back to normality, including attending the mosque and had support from his family.

PC Carl McCoy, who attended the scene, told the inquest no one else was on top of the car park and Mr Nawaz was found on the road just past the entrance to the former bus station.

Pathologist Dr Abdul Al-Dawoud said toxicology tests had revealed "a high level of methadone", plus anti-depressants and paracetamol. But, he added, the cause of death was multiple injuries consistent with a fall.

In a statement read by the coroner, taxi driver Mr Khalid Mahmood said he was sitting in a taxi on the rank in Sagar Street, opposite the car stack, at 10-20 a.m.

He recalled how he saw something fall from the multi-storey. At first, he thought it was a jacket, but when it hit the ground he realised it was a person. "I had not seen anyone else on the car park at the time," he said, adding the police arrived in seconds.

The coroner said Mr Nawaz clearly had mental health issues and had left a note contemplating suicide. But he added: "However, that note refers to something quite different from this."

He said: "I am left wondering actually what did happen, because nobody witnessed it. In those circumstances, I am prepared to record an open verdict. We are not sure what happened beyond any doubt."