A pensioner recovering from cancer surgery was throttled in his hospital bed by an illegal immigrant just 20 hours before he died, an inquest heard yesterday.
Anthony Wilson, 78, was resting after major bowel surgery when the Iranian man lunged and grabbed him round his throat.
Despite being handcuffed to a UK Border Agency guard, Saeed Nejat managed to dive at Mr Wilson in the general surgical ward where they were both being treated.
Mr Wilson, a retired engineer who completed his National Service in the 1950s, died 20 hours after the attack due to complications from the surgery that involved removing part of his colon.
Fellow patient Mohamed Aden told West London Coroner’s Court in a statement yesterday: ‘Mr Wilson appeared to be sleeping, suddenly the male went mad, he had one hand on the pillow and grabbed the patient’s throat in a throat hold.
‘The guard then pulled him off. It was all very chaotic. The patient hadn’t looked frightened and didn’t say anything. It only lasted a few seconds.’
Another patient told police Mr Wilson was ‘strangled with such force it caused him to go red in the face’.
Mr Wilson, from Uxbridge, West London, told police shortly after the attack in October 2011 he did not suffer any injury and did not want to press charges for assault.
The court heard he told officers he ‘woke to see Mr Nejat standing against the window. The next thing he knew Mr Nejat was next to his bed with an arm around his neck’.
Nejat, 43, has since been deported. He had been detained at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre but was admitted to Hillingdon Hospital, West London, with three UKBA guards, complaining of gallstones. Handcuffed detainee patients are usually put in their own side room but there were none available.
Instead, Nejat was put in a general surgical recovery ward with three male patients, including Mr Wilson.
Amardeep Sidhu, the officer handcuffed to Nejat, said he had made no warning before lunging at Mr Wilson.
He told the inquest: ‘He began holding his stomach, he said he wanted to walk around a bit. We walked around a little bit in the area between the beds. He turned quite suddenly and attempted to put his arm behind Mr Wilson. Mr Nejat has put his left arm behind Mr Wilson’s head.
‘He may have been attempting to bring it around his neck but before he could do that we had control of his arms.’
Mr Wilson was said by doctors to have looked well and his family believed he was ‘on the mend’ six days after his surgery on October 17. He had previously been warned by consultants about the seriousness of the surgery and that his chances of survival were only 50-50.
After the attack at 8.15am, his condition deteriorated and shortly after midnight he ‘turned pale and clammy’. He suffered a heart attack that night and died at 4.20am.
A post-mortem examination revealed he suffered from septicaemia after the lining of his bowel broke and he died of multiple organ failure – a common complication of colon surgery.
Recording a verdict that he died of natural causes, assistant coroner Lorna Tagliavini found that Mr Wilson was ‘unhurt’ by the attack and that it ‘did not play any contributory role’ in his death.
A statement by his nephew Simon Wilson, read to the inquest, said relatives were ‘shocked’ by his sudden deterioration.