A LEADING Russian academic and writer, persecuted in his native country for his Christian beliefs, died of natural causes brought on by self-neglect, an inquest heard.

The promising literary critic Vadim Linetski, 30, of Coopers Lane, Leyton, died at Whipps Cross Hospital at the end of January from bronchial pneumonia.

His death brought great sadness to members of the Trinity Methodist Church in Leyton High Road who had supported Vadim and his mother, Alla, since they came to England seeking asylum about a year ago.

And it was a poignant end to a once promising career which had seen Vadim translate foreign literature into Russian and publish a number of books.

His mother, Mrs Linetskaia, said her son had developed a cold in December and she had tried to buy some antibiotics for him but couldn't afford to because of their situation as asylum seekers.

She said her son's health worsened and he started to suffer from pains in the chest and had difficulty swallowing. Mrs Linetskaia said an ambulance was called but Vadim refused to go because he thought they would only treat him for his diabetes, which he felt was not the problem.

However, Mr Linetski decided to go to hospital on January 28 as his condition worsened.

Dr Paul Timmis, a consultant at Whipps, told the inquest in Walthamstow last week that Mr Linetski was emaciated when he arrived and "refused oxygen and tried to remove his drips."

Mr Timmis said that Mr Linetski later suffered a cardiac arrest and convulsions but he said that surgeons persevered in attempts to save him until he died the next day.

Recording a verdict of death from natural causes to which self-neglect contributed, the coroner Elizabeth Stearns said: "His mother did everything she possibly could to seek medical assistance. At first he refused and there's nothing that anyone could do.

"He was grown up and not a child. She shouldn't feel that she is in any way to blame."

Mrs Linetskaia said that her son had been persecuted as a teenager for carrying the Bible, and that his Christian beliefs had meant that his professional life had been "limited" by the Russian authorities.

She said: "He was limited in everything. They kept looking at his work. They tapped his telephone calls. I think it was because of his religious principles."

She thanked the local community, in particular the members of Trinity Methodist Church, who had helped her get through the ordeal.

She said: "They have shown great concern. The church actually paid for Vadim's funeral. The minister Peter Hudson is still continuing to help and Robert Hayward has been helping with translations."

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