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Suicide verdict on model's former lover quashed

A BROTHER of model Irma Mali's former boyfriend, the late Marius Simanaitis, has obtained a High Court order quashing an inquest verdict that he died by suicide.

The Lithuanian martial-arts expert, who is the father of Ms Mali's daughter Nikoleta (7), died from a single gunshot to the head from a pistol fitted with a silencer. His body was discovered at his Dublin apartment on March 11, 2009.

A coroner ruled in January that Mr Simanaitis had fired the fatal shot himself. But yesterday, Mr Justice Peter Charleton ordered a new inquest be held.

Ms Mali -- who is dating The Script frontman Danny O'Donoghue -- was adamant after the death of her partner that he could not have committed suicide. "He was utterly devoted to his daughter," she said last March. "He adored her and was not the sort of person to forgo his responsibilities.

"I don't want to believe he was murdered because of any implications that this realisation brings, but one thing I do know is that everything I know about Marius from our time together says he was definitely not the sort of person to kill himself.

"For a start, he was always very happy and positive, and had such an open, optimistic and ambitious outlook. In all my time with him, he never showed any signs of depression," she added.

Mr Simanaitis's brother Donatus claimed at the High Court that he and his family -- who believe he was murdered -- should have been allowed to attend the inquest in January.

It was claimed the family had been led to believe the inquest would be adjourned after their solicitor told the coroner they would have difficulty leaving Lithuania for the hearing. Donatus subsequently brought High Court judicial review proceedings against the Dublin County Coroner Kieran Geraghty over the suicide finding.

The coroner argued he had acted in good faith in refusing to adjourn the inquest after he received information from the gardai that the lives of witnesses scheduled to give evidence at the inquest were under threat.

The gardai also had concerns that those witnesses might not turn up should the inquest be adjourned, the coroner argued.

The judge said while there was nothing to suggest a garda investigation was anything but proper, the coroner should have allowed for an adjournment of the inquest so that his brother could attend.

There were errors in that decision and he quashed the verdict of the inquest and ordered a fresh inquest.

Irish Independent