Man found dead 'after eating lethal mushrooms' and falling from cliff

Steven Harper, from Dundee, fell to his death from a cliff after he is believed to have eaten lethal mushrooms.

Missing Dundee cyclist found dead in Italy ‘after eating lethal mushrooms and falling from cliff’ Family handout via Family handout

A cyclist from Dundee who lost contact with loved ones after eating mushrooms in France has been found dead in Italy, his family has confirmed.

Steven Harper was attempting to pedal from Dundee to India when he lost contact with his family on November 23 near Monaco.

The 38-year-old was robbed of his bike and passport in the south of France, and his last message to family told how he had boiled and ate potentially lethal mushrooms he found while foraging for food.

It is understood he then headed for Damanhur, a community north of Turin in Italy.

His brother Dale, who flew to Nice in order to lead a search party, confirmed on Sunday that Steven died in Italy after falling from a cliff overlooking the harbour in Ventimiglia due to “disorientation caused by mushroom toxins”.

On Facebook, he wrote: “The search ended in heartbreak with the discovery of Steven’s body in Italy. He had enough resources to survive but might have made a fatal mistake with the mushrooms.

“His death was attributed to a fall from a cliff, possibly due to disorientation caused by mushroom toxins.

“I was left to grapple with the loss, the responsibility of identifying his body, and the realization of his final moments in a place he loved.”

Dale said that Steven “made a mistake”.

Dale confirmed that Steven died due to internal bleeding from his injuries, and that he had digested mushrooms as he “wanted to live off the land as much as possible”.

It is thought he had eaten a mushroom containing amatoxin – which can cause liver damage, kidney failure and potentially death.

He added: “Steven was seen falling and was not alone as nearby workmen rushed to his aid, but given the location, although a helicopter was immediately dispatched, Steven unfortunately passed as a result of internal bleeding from the fall.

“While in the police station I was allowed to view some of Steven’s items before going to see him.

“Looking through, I was struck with the realisation that Steven wasn’t foraging for food because he was hungry and had no money.

“Steven actually had enough money on him to have eaten out for a few nights along the coast but he truly wanted to live off the land as much as possible and he made a small but deadly mistake.

“We are still waiting on the toxicology report but from the evidence we have it seems most likely that Steven had felt delirious due to the toxins, lost balance and fell with his belongings.

“His guitar was smashed on impact sadly but Steven had money on him in Euros, Pounds Sterling and another foreign currency on him. He had changes of clothing, three baseball caps, phone charger, lentils, noodles.

“He just made a mistake, there was no malice in this.

“I take comfort in knowing he was doing what he wanted to do, wasn’t wanting for anything, was surrounded by people in his last moments in a place he always said he had wanted to die.”

Steven’s mother, Angela, also paid tribute to her son.

She wrote: “My beautiful, adventurous son’s journey in this world has come to an end. Steven was living his absolute best life to the fullest and found joy in every step he took and every life he touched.

“He was loving life and wanted to inspire others to see the world. Steven’s motto was, ‘inspire to inspire’, and embraced, ‘Carpe Diem’ – seize the day.”

A FCDO spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British national who died in Italy and are in contact with the local authorities.”

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