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No foul play in hockey player's death: police

The death of Indian origin hockey player Nettin Ashok Patel in New Zealand was the result of an accident and no foul play is involved, the police have said.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2007 16:09 IST

The death of Indian origin hockey player Nettin Ashok Patel in New Zealand was the result of an accident and no foul play is involved, the police have said.

"We're quite satisfied that this is just an unfortunate accident and no foul play was involved," detective senior sergeant Bill Gregory of the Napier Police was quoted as saying by the Dominion Post.

He said Patel, 21, died after falling down from a three-metre wall.

Patel was found lying on a street with serious head injuries early June 24 in Napier, 330 km from here. He died at a hospital in Hastings city with his family by the bedside.

After having played in a hockey tournament in Napier Saturday, Patel had gone on a night out with a teammate.

A taxi driver who dropped them near a winery on Faraday Street told the police that both men appeared intoxicated.

According to the police, a man driving home around 3 am came across Patel lying in the middle of Faraday Street, apparently very drunk. He helped Patel to the side of the road and then called the police.

But by the time a police patrol reached the spot, Patel had disappeared. The police instead found his friend. Thinking they had found the man, they took him to the police station.

Around 4 am, two men found Patel lying unconscious 100 metres from the winery. He was then taken to the Hawkes Bay Hospital where a scan revealed that he had serious head injuries.

Police officer Gregory also quelled rumours that there was witchcraft involved, after a broken statue was found near Patel. He also said it was no racial attack. "None of these have any basis," he told the Post.

Meanwhile, family spokesman Douglas Reid told the Manawatu Standard that it was a relief that Patel's death was accidental. Patel had played for New Zealand's under-15 and under-18 national squads.