Soho sauna-goer died from cocktail of illegal drugs, inquest hears
6:30pm Monday 15th October 2012 in News
A Portuguese man died after taking a cocktail of illegal drugs in a sauna popular with Soho's gay community.
Januario Da Costa Ribeiro, from Beechcroft Road, Tooting, was found face down and slumped in a changing room cubicle which contained a leather chair and a sex swing.
A pathologist's report, found he had "dangerously" high levels of GHB, a recreational drug popular with clubbers, as well as high levels of mephedrone, also known as Meow Meow, another recreational drug similar to ecstasy.
The 33-year-old had been seen wandering the streets of Soho, just after 4am on June 2 this year, asking members of the public if they knew of any saunas in the area.
Daniel Braithwaite, who gave evidence at an inquest into Mr Ribeiro's death at Westminster Coroner's Court today said he was approached by the former waiter and walked with him to the Sweatbox Sauna, on Ramilies Street.
Mr Braithwaite accompanied the Portuguese into the establishment, which is open 24-hours a day, but had to borrow money off him to get in.
Within an hour he went to find Mr Ribeiro, who came to the UK in 2005, to thank him for lending him the money.
He found him lying in the cubicle so tried to talk to him - but did not get a response.
Mr Braithwaite said: "He was cold which was strange as we were in a sauna. I tried an arousal technique on him by rubbing my knuckles on his chest but he didn't respond."
Pathologist Dr Susan Paterson told the hearing Mr Ribeiro had died from acute cardiac failure, brought about by GHB toxicity.
She said his blood/alcohol level was also at least three times the drink-drive limit.
PC Neal Morgan, who was the first officer at the scene at 6.30am, told the inquest: "I was led to a basement by a member of staff, it was dark and confusing. I saw paramedics tending to him."
He was pronounced dead at 7.39am.
Mr Ribeiro's family described him as a "friendly, bubbly and sociable" man who liked "dancing and going clubbing every weekend".
His GP said he had admitted regularly taking recreational drugs.
Coroner Dr Martin Fleming concluded: "The key point is the blood screening reading. There were huge amounts of GHB as well as mephedrone and alcohol, which is a lethal cocktail.
"The pathologist says the toxic levels of these drugs brought about his death via cardiac failure. I record a verdict of non-dependent drug death."