The family of Christopher Shale have said that they have been told it is almost certain that he died of a heart attack, despite a pathologist being unable to determine an official cause of death.
Mr Shale, who was a personal friend and political ally of David Cameron, was found dead in a portable lavatory in the VIP backstage area at the Glastonbury Festival on Sunday morning. It is thought he had been dead for about 20 hours before being discovered. He was pronounced dead at 9.17am on Sunday.
The 56-year-old was last seen shortly before 1pm on Saturday — just after receiving a telephone call from Downing Street warning him that a memo he had written criticising the Conservative party was about to be made public.
Yesterday the inquest heard that a pathologist had been unable to determine the cause of death and that the results of toxicology tests would be required. The East Somerset coroner, Tony Williams, who opened and adjourned the inquest, stressed that toxicology tests in unexplained deaths were not unusual. The tests do not suggest drug use.
Mr Shale’s stepson Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 27, said that his family were sure Mr Shale had died of a heart attack. “We have been told that it is 99.9 per cent sure that he had a heart attack. But they want to do the extra tests because of the publicity around the case.”
Mr Mapelli Mozzi added: “He was a father to me, the only father I have ever known, and a father to all three of us — the best father we could ever have.”
Earlier Mr Cameron said in the House of Commons: “Some people say that in politics there are no real friendships – I think that is completely untrue.”
He said “unsung heroes” like Mr Shale were the “backbone” of constituency associations.
Yesterday Mr Cameron’s communications team confirmed that they had attempted to speak to Mr Shale shortly before his death to warn him that a Sunday newspaper intended to publish an article based on his critical memo.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said he was “absolutely” sure there was no inappropriate behaviour by any of Mr Cameron’s officials.