Until last week Liz Cadell, a journalist working in Bermuda, was believed to have committed suicide by taking an overdose of 150 extra-strength aspirin. Tony Bukhari, a former Cheshire police constable, maintains that he thought he had successfully saved her, only to return from an afternoon jog to find her dead.
But on Friday Mr Bukhari, who served in the Cheshire force from 1986 to 1990 before joining the police in Bermuda, was arrested after he refused to co-operate at the inquest into Miss Cadell's death. Pathologists said that Miss Cadell, 33, must have died three hours earlier than Mr Bukhari had claimed. Mr Bukhari, 31, would not answer questions about his girlfriend's final hours.
Miss Cadell, a bright, articulate journalist and keen sportswoman from Newbury, Berkshire, moved to Bermuda in 1988 to work as a reporter. Three years later, she set up home with Mr Bukhari.
Two months before her death she changed her will to make him the sole beneficiary of her pounds 200,000 inheritance. But she died before the change was made legally valid. She had tried to make the alteration before Mr Bukhari called off their wedding when she confessed to having a year-long affair with a colleague on Bermuda's Royal Gazette daily.
The inquest was told that Mr Bukhari falsified entries in his police notebook about his activities the night before Miss Cadell died and that he had successfully completed a First Aid course which teaches not to induce vomiting in overdose cases. Mr Bukhari claims that when he found out Miss Cadell had taken an overdose he made her drink salt water to be sick.
Mr Bukhari, who returned to his home near Manchester after Miss Cadell's death, was at Hamilton magistrates court in Bermuda yesterday, where he was charged and granted bail.
Only Mr Bukhari knows what happened on 31 May last year. The inquest was told that he spent the night before Miss Cadell died at the house of an English barmaid who subsequently became his lover. His version of events is that he returned home at 4.30am to find Miss Cadell's naked body and a "goodbye" note. According to police records it read: "I know I've let you down badly... perhaps it is best if I disappear and let you get on with your life."
Mr Bukhari told detectives that he had thrown the note in a rubbish bin and joined Miss Cadell in bed. He said that he woke at about 11am and it was then that Miss Cadell told him she had taken an overdose. He encouraged her to vomit, after which she appeared to recover - so much so that they made love at lunchtime. Then he went jogging, returning an hour and 13 minutes later to find Miss Cadell dead, he claimed.
Mr Bukhari's statement was directly challenged by the first expert witness at the inquest. "The time frame given by Mr Bukhari just doesn't add up," said Dr Valerie Rao, a pathologist with Dade County Medical Examiner's Office in Florida. "If she had been taken to the hospital, she could have survived."
Mr Bukhari's claim that he made love to Miss Cadell at 1pm on the day of her death and left her in apparent good health 30 minutes later could not be true, according to Dr Rao. "She was dead by one o'clock in the afternoon," she said.Reuse content