Doctor killed girlfriend’s father with poison in coffee, civil court finds

Partner and her mother also fell seriously ill after thallium was added to coffee pot, according to judgment

Chiara Giordano
Monday 31 January 2022 17:06 GMT
<p>A doctor killed his partner’s father and left her and her mother seriously ill after poisoning their morning coffee, a civil court has found.</p>

A doctor killed his partner’s father and left her and her mother seriously ill after poisoning their morning coffee, a civil court has found.

A doctor killed his girlfriend’s father and made her and her mother seriously ill by poisoning their morning coffee, a civil court has found.

The man poisoned the woman and her parents with thallium, did not use his medical knowledge to help his partner and attempted to divert attention away from himself and the cause of their illness, a judge ruled.

Mr Justice Williams heard the case between the doctor and his now former partner regarding care arrangements for their child at the family court in London.

He ruled in favour of the mother, finding her claim that the doctor had poisoned her and her parents was correct on the balance of probabilities of the evidence presented to him during a five-day hearing in April 2021.

The judgement is a legal rarity, since the doctor was found to have committed the killing on the balance of probabilities in a civil court rather than beyond all reasonable doubt by a jury in a criminal court.

Both the woman’s parents were born and brought up in Bulgaria, Mr Williams said in his judgment.

The mother was a bookkeeper who had been granted British citizenship and the doctor moved to the UK in the late 2000s before their child was born in 2011.

The court found the doctor added thallium, a toxic, odourless, tasteless heavy metal, to a pot of coffee while on holiday with his then-partner, their one-year-old child and her parents in Bulgaria in September 2012.

The child’s maternal grandfather drank a cup of coffee from the pot, while the two women shared a cup and the doctor had instant coffee.

The grandfather became unwell and died two days later, while the women were seriously ill but survived.

In his judgment, Mr Williams said the couple returned to the UK where the doctor “did not pursue with any sufficient energy or appropriate medical treatment/an antidote for the mother”.

The judge said the father attempted to “deliberately mislead doctors” by saying he suspected his partner had Guillain Barré syndrome.

The couple separated in October 2012 because the mother was convinced she and her parents had been poisoned, according to the judgment.

The father began legal action in 2018 in a bid to gain access to his child, while the mother opposed all forms of contact.

A criminal investigation in Bulgaria was suspended in April 2016 but later resumed following appeals by the mother, and remains open.

London’s Metropolitan Police also took statements in late 2013 and early 2014, but the doctor has not been charged with any criminal offence.

The father denies all of the allegations against him.

Delphine Philip Law, his solicitors, told The Guardian: “He vehemently denies the mother’s allegations that he poisoned her or her parents.

“He stated that the court took inadequate account of the fact that there was no direct evidence to corroborate [his former partner’s] allegations.”

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