THE family of a Newcastle man who died in Delhi have finally heard how he died after a three-year wait.
Delayed medical reports from the Indian authorities prevented an inquest being completed following the passing of Aidan Pickering, from Throckley, in his hotel room at the start of a long-term holiday in March 2010.
The 24-year-old’s parents, Tony and Sue, enlisted the help of Hexham MP Guy Opperman in a bid to break down the barriers so they could speed up the process of getting the toxicology report which would confirm the cause of death and allow an inquest to take place in his home city.
Mr Opperman personally pursued the case and met with officials both in London and in Delhi to try and help the Pickerings get the closure they had already waited so long for.
Yesterday the inquest into Aidan’s death was able to proceed where it was confirmed that there was no evidence of foul play. The cause of death was confirmed as acute bronchial pneumonia by pathologist Dr Cooper.
In evidence read out in court he stated that there were shortfalls in the medical reports provided by the Indian authorities. It read: “In conclusion, the toxicology test taken in India falls short on many levels that would be expected.”
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Opperman said: “I know that the Pickering family are genuinely pleased that their long ordeal is now over.
“I remain committed to improving the situation for people whose family pass away abroad because the present procedures are slow, very unfair and do not in many cases produce good, scientific results.
“It cannot be right that a family wait two and a half years to find out the results of a forensic test that in this country would take a maximum four weeks.
“This is a problem that is common not just in India but in other countries as well and we are working with the Foreign Office and individual governments to try and improve this.
“I have met up with the Foreign Office ministers, the British Ambassador to India when I was in Delhi and the representatives of the Indian government in London and I’m pleased that the Indian High Commissioner wrote to us on November 16, 2012, stating ‘on the issue of the death of British nationals in India I have requested the relevant authorities in the government of India to expedite impending cases’.”
Mr Opperman added: “I have nothing but admiration for the Pickering family who have borne their difficulties with great fortitude but this is a situation which can’t continue.”
Returning a verdict of natural causes, coroner Karen Dilks thanked Aidan’s parents for their patience.
I remain committed to improving the situation for people whose family pass away abroad