Dominic Elliott, left, died after drinking bleach at the seaside home of artist David Hockney
British artist David Hockney's ex-lover was arrested on drugs charges after his boyfriend died from drinking bleach at the artist's seaside mansion, it has emerged.
Dominic Elliott, 23, died from swallowing toxic toilet cleaner after a 24-hour drink and drugs binge with his partner John Fitzherbert, who had previously been in a long-term relationship with Hockney.
Fitzherbert, 48, later attempted to cover up evidence of drugs use, and instructed another of the artist's assistants, Jean Pierre Goncalves De Lima, to remove evidence from the scene, the inquest into Elliott's death was told.
Elliott had taken cocaine, ecstasy and temazepam, the inquest heard. The coroner, Paul Marks, recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.
Fitzherbert admitted telephoning De Lima from hospital shortly after Elliott's death, and instructing him to clear his bedroom of drugs as he wished to spare Hockney stress following the artist's stroke last year.
"Humberside Police are investigating possible drug offences, however at this time no one has been charged with any offences," said a statement from Humberside Police..
"A 48 year old man and a 23 year old man have been arrested on suspicion of drug offences and have been released on police bail pending further enquiries."
In his evidence, De Lima said he had been woken early that morning by a phone call from Fitzherbert, who was "in a bad state".
"He told me, 'Dominic is dead, Dominic is dead'. He asked me to go and clear his room of any evidence of drug use," said De Lima, who confirmed he had cleared the bedroom as requested.
Fitzherbert is one of two men who were arrested and bailed for drugs offences following the incident in March, police said.
The inquest heard how Elliott and Fitzherbert had "partied" at the mansion, drinking alcohol, taking cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis before falling asleep in each other's arms, just down the corridor from the room where Hockney was sleeping.
Hockney tended to retire early as he had been in poor health since suffering his mini-stroke, the inquest heard.
Fitzherbert's relationship with Hockney ended four years ago but the two men remained friends, with Fitzherbert staying on to run the house in Bridlington, East Yorkshire.
Fitzherbert later began a relationship with Elliott, a keen sportsman who was Hockney's studio assistant,
Elliott was said to be competing for Fitzherbert's affections with Mark Shephard, another household employee who went to school with Elliott.
The coroner said he was satisfied there were no suspicious circumstances or "third party involvement" in Elliott's death on 17 March.
There was no evidence Elliott intended to commit suicide, but he was under the influence of drugs, the coroner said.
A police spokesman later confirmed that two men aged 48 and 23 had been arrested on suspicion of drugs offences. Both were released on police bail pending further inquiries.
In his evidence, Fitzherbert said he was woken at 4am by Elliott, who asked to be driven to hospital but did not reveal what he had drunk.
Fitzherbert claimed he worked out what had happened after noticing that the cleaning agent contained 95% sulphuric acid. His evidence tallied with statements of several other witnesses.
Days later, Fitzherbert vanished, sparking a police search.
Detective Constable Diane Calvert, of Humberside Police, said: "We were told Mr Fitzherbert had gone missing and it was a cause of concern as he had left his mobile, wallet and there was an empty packet of tablets."
Police treated him as a high-risk missing person, but he was later spotted by a member of the public at Danes Dyke in East Riding, Yorkshire.
He was taken to Scarborough Hospital by the police that morning, and later attended the Priory Hospital in London as a voluntary patient.
Hockney said in a statement he had been unaware of the events. He said he "greatly valued" Elliott's work and was "devastated by his death".
The dead man had sat for portraits by the artist on several occasions.
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