Cleopatra under spotlight after rugby players’ sudden deaths | Daily News

Cleopatra under spotlight after rugby players’ sudden deaths

Investigations have focused on the Cleopatra Night Club following the second death of a visiting British rugby player after a night out at the seedy venue, officials said. Tom Baty (26) became the second victim when he died despite intensive care at a private hospital in Colombo yesterday, Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.

He said Thomas Howard (25), was the first to die on Sunday, shortly after visiting the Cleopatra Night Club located at the basement of the Liberty Plaza building in Colombo.

There were strong suspicions of drug deals at Cleopatra.A local travel reviewer had warned of the seedy nature of the night club located on the basement of Liberty Plaza which is owned by Colombo Lands and Development Company.

“Heavily painted, fumigated with cheap perfume, and host to a steady stream of bleary men, Cleopatra is an essay in seediness,” said a reviewer on the local travel site Police are investigating into whether the English amateur rugby players had been served drugs at the night club amid reports that the victims may have ingested “brown sugar,” a variant of heroin. When Daily News contacted the Cleopatra Night Club, they were not available for comment.

Police said an autopsy on Howard revealed that he did not die due to any external injuries or any illness. An open verdict has been given by the Judicial Medical Officer, M.N. Ruhul Haq and further forensic tests have been ordered. Body parts of the deceased (Howard) had been sent to the Government Analyst for examination.

Police Spokesman Gunasekera said initial investigations showed the two victims from the Durham City Rugby Football Club, along with their team mates, had played a friendly match with the Ceylonese Rugby and Football Club on Saturday.

After the match, they had visited Cleopatra around 10.30pm and they had returned to the hotel they were staying in the Colombo Fort area at around 4.00am on Sunday in small groups at various intervals. The two players at around 10 am had complained of breathing difficulties and the hotel management had admitted them to a private hospital in Colombo. Around 12 in the afternoon one of the two players who had been admitted died.

The British High Commission in Colombo said it was supporting the families of the two victims and were in contact with local authorities. The Durham City Rugby club on its website said “the Howard and Baty families have requested that their right to privacy is respected. 


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