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David Hockney Aide Died After Drinking Acid
An assistant to artist David Hockney died after drinking acid at the painter's home, an inquest has heard.
Dominic Elliott, 23, had taken cocaine, ecstasy and temazepam before he drank the liquid at Mr Hockney's home in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, in March.
He was rushed to Scarborough hospital by the Mr Hockney's former long-term partner, John Fitzherbert, where he later died.
The 76-year-old artist was asleep at home at the time.
Mr Fitzherbert told the hearing in Hull that , during the day leading up to the incident, he and Mr Elliott had smoked cannabis and drunk alcohol and Mr Elliott had also snorted cocaine.
Dr Richard Shepherd said the acid severely burned Mr Elliott's mouth, tongue and throat before perforating his stomach.
In a statement read to the court, Mr Hockney said he was asleep in his bedroom in his five-bed former seaside guesthouse when he was woken on the morning of Sunday, March 17, to be told Mr Elliott had died.
Mr Hockney, who was not in court, gave his occupation in his statement as "artist". He said Mr Elliott and Mr Fitzherbert had been in a relationship for about four months.
He said he had known Mr Elliott for about 10 years and described how he helped him with all aspects of his studio work at his home and in other premises in Bridlington.
But the artist said he only knew him "professionally" and he did not "really know him in a social aspect".
He said Mr Elliott did sometimes drink a lot and this gave him a "Jekyll and Hyde" character.
Mr Hockney also described how he had not been well at the time of the death due to a mini-stroke.
He said he was "completely unaware" of what Mr Fitzherbert and Mr Elliott had been doing that day.
Earlier, giving evidence in person, Mr Fitzherbert said he was woken by Mr Elliott in the middle of the night.
He said he was standing in his underpants saying "can you take me to hospital?"
He told the court he found an bottle of Knock-Out toilet and drain cleaner in the sink but did not connect it to Mr Elliott at that time.
Bradford-born Hockney is one of the most famous British artists of his generation.
Some of his recent work, inspired by the surrounding Bridlington countryside, was celebrated at the Royal Academy of Arts last year with an exhibition of his large-scale landscapes, called A Bigger Picture.
His most famous artworks include A Bigger Splash, a vivid depiction of a Los Angeles swimming pool, and the portrait Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy.