During an inquest into the death of Michael Blakey, East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor has delivered a verdict of unlawful killing.

The Burnley charity worker was found dead in a gully beside the Church of St John in the Wilderness in the Himachal Pradesh region of Dharamsala in December 2006.

Mr Blakey, a former first class honours student at Swansea University, had been working as a volunteer worker for the Tong-Len Charity, attempting to provide aid to street children from slum camps in the region, which is the centre of the country’s Tibetan community and is the long-term home of the Dalai Lama.

During the course of the inquest, it emerged that Mr Blakey had written in his diary about death threats he received from the husband of fellow charity worker Rachel Bhardwaj, a nurse and former Glasgow University student.

He was last seen three days prior to his death. When his body was found, large stones had been placed on his head, chest and lower abdomen, and he appeared to have suffered severe injuries to his head and face.

The coroner’s verdict of unlawful killing represents a major turning point in the inquest.

Mrs Mary Whitford, Michael’s mother, is represented by Farleys in the case, and provided the following statement in reaction to the news,

“This was the verdict which we had always wanted. We can now go to the Foreign Office and say to them that a British citizen has been unlawfully killed abroad and can they do something about it.”

If you have any further enquiries about this case, please contact Astrid Coates on 0845 050 1957. Alternatively, to speak to an Inquest solicitor, call Farleys on 0845 287 0939 or e-mail us.