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A family from the UK are still fighting to find out how their much loved son, Ben Harrington, 32, was tragically killed in Koh Tao in August last year, when his hired moped crashed.
An inquest into his death had to be adjourned last week, as his family continues their struggle for information from the Thai authorities. Astonishingly, the only report they have seen in relation to his death had the wrong name and the wrong passport number for Ben, and the family say there are major inconsistencies in what they have been told. They have now submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for all correspondence between them and their Thai counterparts about Ben’s death.
An inquest in Horsham last week was due to reach a verdict on how he died, but the coroner decided to adjourn it until all documents were available. Ben’s mum, Pat Harrington, 60, of Vevers in Reigate, said: “It is very upsetting; I don’t feel as though I can move on, I cannot close this at the moment. “It has taken a year to get what we have got and it was all completely wrong. That report was written on August 30, 2012 and we didn’t get it until September 6 this year.”
Ben, from London Road, worked as an IT consultant in Horley. He was travelling in Thailand with his brother Mark and friend Chris Stansfeld when he died. He was alone when the crash happened late at night. Mark said he had not been drinking at the time. Mrs Harrington feels he may have been mugged and is extremely frustrated with the Thai authorities. “We never got his wallet, cards or money back,” she said. “The police said there wasn’t anything there. I don’t think we will ever get to the bottom of it. I just need to find out as much as we can, it is very important to me.”
Coroner’s officer Jemma Cullen told last Thursday’s aborted inquest that Ben had crashed into an electricity pole. She said there was a hand-written statement from the Thai police, but nothing from any independent witnesses and no other reports had been provided. A postmortem, carried out when Ben’s body was returned to the UK, found he died from a transected aorta and a road traffic collision.
Addressing the hearing and highlighting inconsistencies, Mrs Harrington, a nurse, said: “In the [Thai police] report they said Ben’s head was [at] 180 degrees, but there was no evidence on his neck that could have happened.” Coroner for West Sussex, Penelope Schofield, said the inquest would be reconvened when Mrs Harrington’s FOI request had been returned.