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1994: Police probe MP's suspicious death

Forensic scientists are investigating the "suspicious circumstances" of the death of Conservative MP for Eastleigh Stephen Milligan.

Mr Milligan, 45, was found dead at his home in Chiswick, west London, yesterday afternoon by his secretary, Vera Taggart.

Ms Taggart let herself into Mr Milligan's house after she became worried he had not kept his appointments.

Mr Milligan had spoken to a friend on the telephone at 2100 GMT on Saturday, but failed to keep a lunch arrangement on Sunday.

Hammersmith Police received a 999 call at 1623 GMT on Monday and went to the 160,000 house where the MP lived alone.


"The body was naked except for a pair of stockings and suspenders"

A police officer

Police kept the body in the house for five hours before removing it to Fulham mortuary for post-mortem examination last night.

One officer said: "The body was naked except for a pair of stockings and suspenders."

But he refused to comment on rumours the politician was also bound and gagged.

The forensic team emerged from the MP's house after three hours carrying a bag and some furniture, including two sections of beige cupboard doors and the top of a round pine table.

After working as foreign editor and Washington correspondent of the Sunday Times and a stint as BBC TV's Europe correspondent, Mr Milligan entered parliament in 1992.

Within just seven months he took the first step on the ministerial ladder when he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to Defence Minister Jonathan Aitken.

He was well regarded by his colleagues in the House of Commons who have pointed out the irony of his growing disillusionment with politics as the party hierarchy began to notice him.

Mr Milligan, who had twice been engaged, had recently spoken of his wish to settle down and spend more time with friends.

His sudden death has left friends and colleagues shocked and distressed.

In Context
Results of final forensic tests released three days later found Stephen Milligan had died of asphyxiation from the electrical flex tied in a noose round his neck.

Murder was ruled out.

Further details of the appearance of his body - including a black bin liner over his head and wearing stockings and suspenders - were consistent with auto-erotic sex practices.

At an inquest into his death a coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure and confirmed no traces of drugs or alcohol were found in Mr Milligan's body.

About 500 people attended a memorial service for him at St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey in April.

The Conservatives lost his Eastleigh seat to the Liberal-Democrats in a by-election in June 1994.


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