AN investigation continued today into the mystery death in Sussex of a member of the ruling family of the oil-rich emirate of Sharjah.

The Argus has learned that tests being conducted into the cause of his death include one to determine whether Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi died from a heroin overdose.

The ruling family's eldest son was discovered in his bedroom in his father's mansion, Wych Cross Place, near Forest Row, East Grinstead.

The death has plunged the Persian Gulf sheikhdom into seven days of mourning.

In keeping with his country's traditions, the24-year-old was buried in Sharjah on Sunday, within 48 hours of his death being discovered.

Sheikh Mohammed was not in line to inherit the sheikhdom, which his father, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, has ruled for more than 20 years.

He was the son of Sheikh Sultan's first marriage and had been supplanted by a younger stepbrother, Khalid, born from the Sheikh's second marriage.

Officials at the United Arab Emirates embassy in London said the death was due to natural causes, but questions are being asked as to how such a young man with no known serious illness could die so suddenly.

One report quotes a former employee of the sheikh's father: "He was a likeable lad but a bit on the wild side."

Sheikh Mohammed would sometimes sneak across the road from his father's 200-acre estate to the 30-room Roebuck Hotel for a pint.

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