Hanged man had feared attack by Scientologists

A MAN found hanged last year believed his life was in danger because he had been trying to expose the 'evils' of the Scientology cult, which his former girlfriend had joined, a west London inquest heard yesterday.

Paul Burton, the Hammersmith coroner, recorded an open verdict on Khushroo Motivala, 38, who was found hanging from a loft beam at his home in Greenford, west London, last September.

Dr Burton was told that Mr Motivala had extensive debts and that he blamed the cult for the break-up of his relationship with Ruth Turk and for the loss of his three daughters. The couple had been fighting for custody of the children since Miss Turk had left with them six months earlier.

Lindon Lewis, a friend, said that Mr Motivala had told him stories about opponents of Scientology who had been attacked in the United States.

'He certainly feared for his life,' Mr Lewis said. 'He kept a big knife by the front door in case of an attack. He was always talking about exposing the evils of Scientology. We all thought he was a bit silly, but then he died.'

The inquest heard that Mr Motivala initially attended Scientology meetings with Miss Turk. Later he accused her of giving pounds 14,000 to cult members from the taxi and courier business which they jointly ran until financial problems forced them to sell it in early 1991.

Mr Lewis said that the Scientologists had issued a 'non-enturbulation' order against Mr Motivala, which forbade him from speaking to or going near Miss Turk. Another friend, Patrick Smith, said that Mr Motivala had been listed by the cult as a 'suppressive person', or enemy.

Miss Turk told the inquest that she had been a Scientologist for 10 years, but that her religion was not connected with her separation from Mr Motivala and that she had not taken any money out of the business.

She said that he had received a letter, possibly on the morning of his death, informing him of the date of the next custody hearing.

Mr Motivala's body was discovered by his girlfriend, Clare Bruce, about an hour after the departure of his children, who had spent the day with him. Dr Burton said that because Miss Bruce had intended to be home half an hour earlier, it was possible that he had expected to be found before he died.

Miss Bruce said that her boyfriend was living in a state of fear. 'He made a habit of harassing the Scientologists and he was always afraid that there would be an assault on him, because it was known to happen,' she said.

Ray Jenkins, who employed Mr Motivala as a driver, said that he would be astonished if he had taken his own life.

Mr Jenkins said: 'He had become obsessed about Scientology - to the extent of taking a lot of advice from an anti-Scientology adviser - and also about the custody of his children. To have done what he appears to have done would be to concede everything.'

Mr Lewis said that Mr Motivala was in very good spirits at the time he died, as his lawyers had just told him that he had a good chance of gaining a residency order in the custody proceedings. 'He was absolutely ecstatic, over the moon,' he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor