Coroner: Hockney aide died after drinking acid

LONDON (AP) — A 23-year-old assistant to British artist David Hockney died when he drank acid after taking drugs and alcohol at the painter’s home, a coroner ruled Friday.

Dominic Elliott died after drinking a household drain cleaner made of sulfuric acid in March. A post-mortem examination showed that he had taken cocaine and other drugs before he died.

Coroner Paul Marks recorded a verdict of “misadventure” for Elliott, saying he took the substances knowing his actions were risky. There was no evidence the studio assistant intended to take his own life, Marks said.

Marks also ruled that there were no suspicious circumstances in the death.

Hockney’s former long-term 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.

Elliott died on March 17 after Fitzherbert drove him to a hospital.

The 75-year-old Hockney, one of Britain’s best-known artists, said in a statement he was asleep in his bedroom at the time and didn’t know what Fitzherbert and Elliott had been doing that day.

The artist, who had painted Elliott several times, said he only knew him professionally and could not comment on his lifestyle habits. He did not attend the inquest, but passed on his condolences through his lawyer.

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