Jan 15, 2016

Briton killed in Peru ayahuasca ceremony texted girlfriend about 'bad experience' in Amazon

Harriet Alexander
The Telegraph
December 21, 2015

A British man who was killed during a hallucinogenic drug session in the Amazon spoke of his concerns about the Peruvian site shortly before his death, his girlfriend said.

Unais Gomes, 26, a Cambridge University graduate from St John’s Wood, was stabbed to death by a 29-year-old Canadian, Joshua Stevens, after the pair took ayahuasca – a hallucinogenic plant brew.

Mr Stevens was arrested but released without charges after witnesses claimed Mr Gomes grabbed a kitchen knife during a “bad trip,” before he was fatally wounded by Mr Stevens last Wednesday.

And Mr Gomes’s girlfriend Christelle Ory, 24, a marketing graduate from San Francisco, said the financier was unnerved by the experience in Peru.

The drug is used to induce hallucinations, which some claim provides mental clarity and spiritual insight. Others say the potion, sampled by Bruce Parry for the BBC series Tribe, makes them vomit excessively and leaves them weak and confused.

Four days before his death, he wrote: “I ran away from my retreat. Bad experience.”

The next day he sent more messages, writing: “Crazy here as well” and “I don’t like it”.

He added: “It’s just the place I went to didn’t feel right.” In a final text he wrote that he was going back to the retreat, saying: “Now they have called an amazing shaman to clean up that place.”

Miss Ory described Mr Gomes as her “sunshine”.

After graduating he went on to work at Citibank in London for three years and moved into private investment. A year ago, he gave it all up to build Clean Tech, a “catastrophe response” company focused on water sustainability, in San Francisco.

“Unais was a dreamer, and I wanted to dream with him,” she said.

“I am devastated to lose him but I am even more frustrated to think about all these things he wanted to accomplish in his life. Unais had so much ambition and wanted to make the world a better place. He did already, just by being part of it.”

Mr Stevens was arrested after the killing at Phoenix Ayahuasca lodge, outside the city of Iquitos, but was freed without charge on Thursday night.

On Monday Mr Gomes’s mother, Asel Usupbaeva, was too upset to speak, The Evening Standard reported. Her son’s friends in London have questioned the police investigation and called for the Foreign Office to ensure it is reopened.

Mr Stevens said: “The police have released me because there were too many witnesses that had seen it as self-defence. I am still in shock.

“Things were going so well here, I was healing myself so much.

“Unais and I got along so well and talked for hours every day.

“He really was becoming a good friend. May god bless Unais, his family and friends and my friends and family. This will all make sense one day.”


No comments: