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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea