Man fell to his death after 'gay orgy' at Bismarck flat

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The Independent Online

The death of a man who fell 60ft from the home of the businessman and socialite Count Gottfried von Bismarck was a "tragic accident" following a "gay orgy", an inquest heard yesterday.

Anthony Casey, 38, fell from a roof terrace after a party at the count's £5m home in Draycott Place, Chelsea, on 23 August.

The count, who is a descendant of Germany's 19th century "Iron Chancellor", had been hosting a gathering for four men. Mr Casey, whose blood contained "substantial amounts of cocaine" when he died, was feeling unwell and went outside alone onto the terrace, where he fell.

Dr Paul Knapman, the coroner, said a room in the flat contained what most people would consider "unusual" and "bizarre" items.

He listed items which had been found, including a large rubber tarpaulin on the floor, towels, lubricants, buckets full of sex toys, propped-up mirrors, a butane gas canister, a box containing dozens of syringes, bottles of vodka, and a television and video player set up to show "scenes of a pornographic nature".

Dr Knapman said: "In common parlance, in the early hours of the morning, there was a gay orgy going on. Nevertheless, this was conducted by consenting males in private."

Giving evidence at Westminster coroner's court, Count von Bismarck, 43, dressed in a brown waxed jacket, blue jumper and tie, said he had not seen any homosexual activity. When asked whether his gathering could be described as a "gay party", he said: "I don't know what defines that."

He said that Mr Casey had asked him for the key to his roof terrace, from which he fell. He initially had the impression that Mr Casey had come down from the roof, and was at first disbelieving when told he had fallen off, checking the rooms in the flat. Asked by the coroner if there had been any unpleasantness during the night, the count replied: "No, nothing."

Count von Bismarck said he had known Mr Casey for four or five years. "We both were gay men. But we had different working lives: sometimes I would not see him for months, then would see him again," he said, adding that Mr Casey had been very "open-minded". Scotland Yard launched an investigation which concluded that the fall was a "tragic accident". The four party-goers - Marek Matysiak, David Tomlin, Paul Dorrian and the Count - will not face charges.

The accident happened 20 years after Olivia Channon, daughter of the Conservative minister Paul Channon, died of an overdose in Count von Bismarck's bed.

Mr Dorrian, 41, who was the last person to see Mr Casey, said he went up to the roof to find out how he was. He said Mr Casey indicated that he wanted some water. He went to the kitchen and heard a noise when he got to the top of the stairs. He went down in a "state of shock" after looking over the wall of the roof terrace and seeing a person was on the floor.

The coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure.