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Coroner: Oxford tutor's death accidental

Nov. 29, 2012 at 1:46 AM

OXFORD, England, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- An Oxford astrophysicist suffering from mental problems died accidentally as he was restrained by a friend, a British coroner said Wednesday.

A pathologist who testified at the hearing said Steven Rawlings, 50, a tutor at St. Peter's College with an international reputation, died of cardiac arrest after Devinder Sivia got him in a headlock, The Guardian reported. Coroner Darren Salter ruled the death accidental.

Rawlings' wife, Linda, was out of the country when he died. Sivia, a colleague who had been a friend of Rawlings since their university days at Cambridge, had invited him to spend the night because he was concerned about his friend's mental state.

Linda Rawlings testified she was on the phone with Sivia when emergency workers came to his home in Southmoor.

"Devinder was crying and said, 'I have killed my best friend,'" she told the inquest.

Sivia said Rawlings appeared confused that night and "oscillated between fantasy and reality." Then, he said, Rawlings attacked him, screaming, "You're going to die."

Sivia was arrested that night but was released without charge.

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