Published: 8 June, 2012
by JOSH LOEB
A STUDENT who died after ingesting poisonous seeds may have been trying to re-create a mystical ritual involved in primitive cosmology, his mother told an inquest.
Former Hugh Myddelton primary school pupil Antoni Kyriacou was found dead on March 10 by his mother, Tracey McGowan, at their home in Covent Garden.
The body of the popular 24-year-old, who grew up in Clerkenwell and had numerous friends in the area, was discovered in his bed with a cup by his side containing seeds and other “partially crushed herbal material”, later found to be from a yew tree.
At the inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court yesterday (Thursday), Ms McGowan said that after her son’s death some of his friends had told her he had expressed an interest in a practice performed in ancient times in which yew seeds were consumed when two planets were aligned.
Ms McGowan said: “They said he was aware of cosmology and that a tribe of people going back hundreds of years, when Venus and Jupiter come into alignment, did take these seeds to experience the afterlife and then come back again.”
She added that, according to his friends, Mr Kyriacou had spoken of how on March 9, the presumed date of his death, these two planets would come into alignment in such a way.
Ms McGowan said there was no reason to think that her son, who had never been known to use recreational drugs or other substances of abuse, had set out to kill himself by eating the yew seeds, which have poisonous properties.
She said he appeared serene in death and “was smiling”. The court heard Mr Kyriacou was discovered lying fully clothed and wearing headphones that were still playing music.
Coroner Angela Hodes recorded an open verdict with cause of death a cardiac arrest by ingesting yew seeds.