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Death of man found in Holloway bin caused by taking drugs after abstinence

23-year-old’s mother flies in from Italy for inquest

15 November, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Italian national Erik Sanfilippo had a history of drug abuse

THE mother of a man whose body was found dumped in a bin said her son “loved life” as a coroner found that he had died of an “accidental overdose”.

The body of Erik Sanfilippo, 23, was found in a bin in Tollington Road, Holloway, earlier this year after he had taken drugs in a nearby house following a period of abstinence, St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard.

Italian national Mr Sanfilippo, who lived in Crayford Road just off Holloway Road, had a history of drug abuse but he had recently returned to his home country to get himself clean after he had finished working in Camden Market.

Police at the scene in Tollington Road earlier this year

His mother Carmen De Caro gave evidence from the witness box, taking questions from assistant coroner Richard Brittain at the inquest on Friday.

Mr Brittain asked if her son had had any problems with his “mental health or low mood”.

Ms De Caro told the court: “No. When he was little he was a bit hyperactive and he had asthma.”

Mr Brittain asked if he had ever considered taking his own life.

Ms De Caro replied: “No, he loved life.”

She added that she believed Mr Sanfilippo was scared of something when he came back to the UK from his trip to Italy, but he would not tell her exactly what.

“He was assaulted,” she said.

“He was robbed. He was followed everywhere, I do not know anything more than that.”

On May 11 Mr Sanfilippo had gone to the house in Tollington Road where he and a woman and another man, Gerardo Rossi, took drugs, the court heard.

At some point Mr Rossi became aware that Mr Sanfilippo had overdosed and he told his girlfriend to go out “and get him a hit so he could function”.

Mr Sanfilippo, however, died and his body was then left in a wheelie bin, according to a statement from Sergeant Debbie Barge from the Met Police.

Mr Rossi is due to be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court at the end of the month for perverting the course of justice.

Ms De Caro said she felt there had been a “missed opportunity” at some point for the pair who were with Mr Sanfilippo to “seek assistance” and potentially save her son’s life.

The man whose bin the body was dumped in woke up the next morning to find it had been moved and flagged down two police officers.

Sgt Barge said: “He explained he had been looking for his wheelie bin and had located the bin in the front garden of a neighbour’s address and discovered what he thought was a male sleeping inside.

“He asked the officers to get the man out of the bin. The officers attempted to wake the man, believing he was asleep, but realised he was unresponsive and cold to touch.”

A toxicology report found that there was alcohol, as well as cocaine and heroin in his blood system.

Assistant coroner Mr Brittain told the hearing: “In terms of a conclusion, my view is that the recent abstinence and then return to drug use has resulted in his death arising from an accidental overdose.”

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