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British man battered to death in Thailand jail attack

Sean Flanagan, 46, of Railway Terrace, Dalton, died in Pattaya Remand Prison on March 30 2012 after another man jumped on his chest.

At an inquest held at Barrow Town Hall yesterday, South and East Cumbria coroner Mr Ian Smith concluded Mr Flanagan’s death was due to “injuries following an assault or assaults”.

A postmortem was carried out on April 24 2012 after his body was repatriated.

sean flanaganDetective Chief Inspector Bob Qazi, who has been liaising with Mr Flanagan’s family, said: “The doctor concluded she is in no doubt he was the victim of a serious assault with rib fractures and bruising to his body.”

The cause of death was recorded as blunt chest trauma, but bruising to the face, abdomen and limbs was also noted.

Despite this, Thai authorities did not investigate the death until November 2013, after pressure from Mr Flanagan’s family.

Records show Mr Flanagan was arrested between March 21 and 24 on suspicion of stealing a moped. He was transferred to Pattaya Remand Prison on March 26 where he was said to have been behaving unusually.

DCI Qazi said: “It was said by several people he was losing his self control, refusing to sleep and exhibiting violent behaviour. The gist of it was he was disturbing other prisoners and irritating them.”

When he was visited by embassy officials on March 29, Mr Flanagan was in wheelchair, heavily bruised and speaking incoherently.

At first, prison officials explained the injuries by claiming Mr Flanagan had fallen off a wall onto a drinking trough. The investigation later revealed that he had been assaulted. A second, and fatal, assault occurred some time after the embassy official’s visit.

DCI Qazi said: “Mr Flanagan was assaulted by a man who admitted to jumping on his body with both knees, pressing his knees into Mr Flanagan’s chest for a period of time.”

The man, who has not been named, has since been charged with the Thai equivalent of manslaughter.

Summing up, Mr Smith praised Mr Flanagan’s family, DCI Qazi and the office of Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock for helping push for an investigation.

In a statement, Mr Flanagan’s family urged the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to do more to support families in similar situations.

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