US & Canada

Bobbi Kristina death case: Judge awards $36m damages

Bobbi Kristina Brown (L) and Nick Gordon in Hollywood in August 2012 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bobbi Kristina Brown (l) and Nick Gordon

The partner of Bobbi Kristina Brown has been ordered by a US judge to pay $36m (£29m) in a wrongful death case, her estate's lawyers have said.

The daughter of pop star Whitney Houston, Brown was found unresponsive in a bath in her Atlanta home in 2015.

Her family accused her partner Nick Gordon of plying her with a "toxic mixture" before putting her face down in the water.

Mr Gordon has not been criminally charged in connection with her death.

But he was found liable in September following a default judgment in a civil case because he failed to appear in court.

He did not appear at the civil hearing, nor did he appoint a lawyer, but his legal representatives have previously described the allegations as baseless.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Bobby Brown argued in court that his daughter's untimely death brought an end to a bright career
Image copyright AP
Image caption Bobbi Kristina Brown's half sister LaPrincia (above) gave evidence in Thursday's hearing in Atlanta

Brown was in a coma for six months before dying in a hospice aged 22 in July 2015 as a result of immersion in water and drug intoxication, according to medical records.

A post-mortem report was unable to determine whether death was due to intentional or accidental causes.

She died in similar circumstances to her mother - one of the world's best-selling music artists - who also died in a bathtub in 2012 with heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors.

Her estate had been seeking at least $40m from Gordon in its wrongful death lawsuit against him, which was filed in October 2015.

Mr Gordon was accused of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and transferring money from Brown's account into his own without authorisation.

In a statement after Thursday's court order one of the lawyers acting for her family said that "Bobbi suffered such horrific pain and degradation at the hands of Nick Gordon".

Image copyright AP
Image caption Bobbi Kristina's mother, Whitney Houston, was found dead in a bathtub in Los Angeles in 2012

"[He was] the man she loved and trusted. No one should suffer the way she did and the judge sent a strong message in the award of punitive damages that this despicable behaviour is inexcusable and will not be tolerated," Glenda Hatchett was quoted by Atlanta Alive as saying.

Brown's father, the R&B singer Bobby Brown, contended his daughter had a major career ahead of her in the entertainment industry before her untimely death.

He said in a statement after Thursday's ruling that he was pleased with the judgment and called on prosecutors to file criminal charges.

"I do know Mr Gordon will be unable to slander my daughter's name in the future or obtain any benefits from the use of Krissy's name," NBC News quoted him as saying.

Brown was the only daughter of Houston and Bobby Brown.

Houston took in Gordon at age 12. He lived with the family for years before he and Bobbi Kristina Brown began a romantic relationship.

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