"I know he had been drinking whisky at the party."
An inquest has heard that an East London gangster who tried to behead someone died after drinking too much whisky at a birthday party.
Sabesan Sivaneswaran, aged 34, of East Ham, was part of a gang from Newham that tried to murder a 23-year-old in 2006.
Armed with swords, pick-axe handles and pieces of wood, four of them tried to behead the victim who had a cricket bat to defend himself.
His arm was severed to the bone, leaving his hand hanging by the wrist.
At the time, the Old Bailey heard the gang were known as ‘The East Ham Boys’ and were led by Senthurrajah Thavapalasingham.
They had travelled across London to target rival gang DMX.
The gangsters were jailed for a total of 63 years while Mr Sivaneswaran was given a life sentence for attempted murder and ordered to serve at least eight years.
The gang’s imprisonment saw criminal damage fall by 80% in the East Ham area. Reports of anti-social behaviour also fell by 50%.
After the trial in 2008, police declared:
“East Ham is no longer a ‘crime and disorder’ hotspot.”
An inquest has now heard that on July 24, 2022, Mr Sivaneswaran was found lying in the road outside a party, covered in vomit and unable to breathe.
In a statement read to the East London Coroner’s Court, a friend said Mr Sivaneswaran had spilt curry on his shirt and was dancing.
The friend said: “I noticed Sabesan could not hold his food plate because he was drunk.
“He tried drinking the water but he lost his balance and fell down. After about 30 to 35 minutes I went into the party because something kicked off. When I came back outside police were with him. I know he had been drinking whisky at the party.”
Police officers patrolling the area found Mr Sivaneswaran at 12:06 am.
Officers tried to clear his airways by scooping out vomit with their hands and a bandage. He fell unconscious at 12.21 am.
London Ambulance Service arrived six minutes after the initial call was made.
Paramedics took over CPR from the police as soon as they arrived, giving chest compressions, drugs to stimulate the heart and advanced life support.
But, despite their efforts, they were unable to save him and he was pronounced dead at 1:30 am.
The court heard evidence of Mr Sivaneswaran’s mental health struggles and alcohol abuse which found his liver was already damaged by drinking.
Coroner Nadia Persaud also ruled out third-party involvement after CCTV caught a verbal altercation between him and a car driver in the hours before he died.
Coroner Persaud said: “I am satisfied there was no evidence of foul play.
“The evidence suggests he choked on his own vomit.”
After reviewing toxicology and pathology reports, it was concluded that Mr Sivaneswaran died from “aspirating gastric contents” and “acute ethanol intoxication and alcohol-related fatty liver disease”.
In a statement to the court, his family said:
“He came to this country when he was 10 years old and he always stayed alone. He played football for his school and country. He always had a lovely smile.”
The family revealed he was admitted to a mental health hospital in 2017 and “did not recover well”. When he returned home in 2020 he was given a social worker.
They added: “The day he passed away and left his home he talked to his mum and said goodbye.
“We were very shocked when he said goodbye. He did not know what issues he was facing with his mental illness.”