British expat in Qatar who told friends he was a ‘dead man’ after making a comment about the [Qatari] Queen Mother fell to his death from his balcony the day after packing his bags to flee the country
- Philip Cox contacted his family in Bridgend saying he was ‘sick with worry’
- 40-year-old was due to fly home from Doha when he plunged 20ft to death
- Investigators found his packed suitcase, passport and ticket inside his flat
- His father Richard said ‘something really serious’ must have happened
- Coroner recorded open verdict and said it was ‘extremely difficult’ to know what happened
A British expat who told friends he was a ‘dead man’ if he tried to leave Qatar after making a comment about the Queen Mother fell to his death from his balcony the day he was due to return to the UK, an inquest has heard.
In the days before his death, Philip Cox had contacted his family in Bridgend, South Wales, telling them he was ‘sick with worry’ because his life had been threatened.
Shortly after, the 40-year-old was found dead at the entrance to his high-end apartment complex, after falling up to 20ft from his balcony.
When investigators searched his apartment, they found the front door wide open while his packed suitcase was inside. His airline tickets and his passport were also on the table and there was untouched food in the microwave.
At an inquest into his death, Mr Cox’s father Richard said he did not believe his son had jumped.
In an email sent to the coroner’s office, he added that something ‘really serious’ must have happened to his son to make him want to ‘come home so quickly and give up the job he had always dreamed of’.
Concluding the hearing at Aberdare Coroner’s Court, assistant coroner Graham Hughes delivered an open verdict and said it was ‘extremely difficult’ to know what had happened.
No witnesses from Qatar were available and some evidence, including CCTV from the apartment complex, was not made available during the inquiry.
The inquest was told how Mr Cox had been working in Doha as a quantity surveyor for eight months.
But, in November last year, he started receiving threats from people living in the apartment block after making a remark about the Queen Mother, the hearing heard.
According to a message he sent to his friend, Mr Cox was warned he would be a ‘dead man’ if he tried to leave the country. In conversations with his mother, he said he had not been sleeping and was ‘sick with worry’, the hearing was told.
The inquest heard how Mr Cox handed in his resignation on November 3, telling his employers that he wished to terminate his contract immediately.
Mr Cox has been working in Doha since March 2015. His family say there must have been something ‘really serious’ for him to quit his ‘dream job’.
He then asked them to arrange a flight back to the UK and a flight was booked for Mr Cox for the following day.
But the hearing was told how, just half an hour before a driver was due to take him to the airport, Mr Cox’s body was found near to the entrance of the complex.
In a statement read at the inquest, his father Mr Cox said: ‘The fact that he had arranged to come back to the UK, does not lend itself to Philip having jumped.’
A report from the Qatari authorities described how, following his death, the door to Mr Cox’s apartment was found open.
They also found his suitcases were packed and his passport and air ticket were on the table. Untouched food was found in the microwave.
Officers in Qatar said there were no signs of any struggle in the apartment.
Mr Hughes said: ‘The investigation into the cause of death was completed by the Qatari authorities, who may not have investigative procedures with the same intensity and thoroughness that we have in England and Wales.
‘This means that the court is at the mercy of the Qatari authorities in relation to the quality of evidence.’
He added that there was ‘no doubt in the evidence’ that Mr Cox ‘perceived threats to his own safety and life’.
‘Although we have little evidence as to the nature or basis of these threats, they obviously caused a significant shift in his views on remaining in Doha and gave him a really strong desire to leave the country as quickly as he possible could,’ he said.
‘But there is no evidence to explain exactly how Mr Cox came from being in his apartment to where his body was found.’