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Brit father plunged to death from Italian clifftop after becoming 'delirious' when eating wild mushrooms
22 January 2024, 17:05 | Updated: 22 January 2024, 17:09
A Scottish father-of-two plunged to his death over an Italian clifftop after becoming 'delirious' when he ate foraged wild mushrooms, his grieving family has revealed.
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Steven Harper, 38, had ventured on a vast cycling trip from Dundee to India when his family became concerned after not making contact with him for almost a month.
It has now emerged the father-of-two fell to his death in Ventimiglia, four miles from the French border, on November 23 last year.
Mr Harper's family said they believe he became disorientated after consuming wild mushrooms he had foraged - and subsequently exposed himself to dangerous toxins.
They said the father mentioned in his last message - believed to be an hour before his death - that he was feeling ill and was making food with wild mushrooms and noodles.
Mr Harper's brother, Dale Harper, who is also from Dundee, travelled to Italy earlier this month where he identified his body.
He had previously launched an appeal to find his missing brother, but the search "ended in heartbreak".
"He had enough resources to survive but might have made a fatal mistake with the mushrooms," his brother wrote on Facebook.
"'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 realisation of his final moments in a place he loved.
The Italian police report concluded Mr Harper died from falling off a cliff on November 23, Dale said.
Locals were reported as seeing a man falling, where nearby workman rushed to his aid.
Mr Harper died as a result of internal bleeding from the fall, it was reported, after a helicopter was dispatched to the scene.
The father-of-two's personal documents, including his ID, were stolen earlier in his trip while cycling through Barcelona, it was previously reported.
"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," Dale continued.
"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."
Mr Harper's mother also paid tribute to her son on Facebook, writing that he was "loving life" and "wanted to inspire others to see the world".
A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: "We are supporting the family of a British man and are in contact with the local authorities."