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The mother of a man who drowned in Phuket has told of her anguish and feelings of being let down by the police and the Foreign office who failed to prevent her son boarding a flight to Thailand.
Sebastian Palin 31 who been suffering from bipolar affective disorder arrived in Thailand in February this year, after stopping his medication. It was reported to local police that after going missing for several days the man had spoken to his sister by telephone before going to Heathrow to board his flight, leaving his medication at home. Mr.Palin’s wife of three years, very unhappy about the situation and asked her husband’s best friend to fly out to Thailand with his medication. She also informed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about her husband’s condition.
When best friend Mr. Benson arrived in Phuket he found Mr Palin who appeared to be happy to see him, although his outward appearance was somewhat bedraggled and Mr. Benson noted that he seemed to be in a “bad way mentally”. When over the next few days Mr Palin’s condition worsened Mr Benson took the decision to take Mr Palin to the local hospital but after his arrival he ran away. Later Mr Beson was informed by local police that Mr Palin had been involved in a minor road accident and although having being taken to hospital he suffered no significant injuries.
Mr Beson spent the next 24 hours looking for his friend, eventually locating him via a booking at a hotel on Coral Island, however he was later informed that his friend and been found drowned in the sea. Local reports suggest the man had been drinking in the hotel bar, staff had attempted to assist the man back to his room but he was insistent that he wished to continue drinking.
Speaking at an the inquest into his death at Milford Haven Town Hall on Thursday it was established that Mr Palin had a breakdown in December 2013 and was subsequently treated for his symptoms. Sebastian’s mother Helen Palin said: “Sebastian had taken the decision that there was nothing wrong with him and that everybody else had a problem. His behaviour became more and more erratic.
“When he left for Thailand he left his medication. He was rapidly getting out of control. We asked the police to step in but they said they wouldn’t because he was 31 and had the means to pay.
“But the problem is in a country like Thailand there isn’t anything in place. We couldn’t get any help from anybody. The British Embassy didn’t step in.
“The police didn’t step in. Sebastian basically needed to be arrested in a way to be forced to take the medication. I truly believe this would not have happened if the police had stepped in. All I want to know is why the British police didn’t do more.”
Coroner Mark Layton said a post mortem examination, carried out in the UK, could not show any toxicology results.
But he said the cause of death was found to be asphyxia caused by drowning.
He said: “The exact sequence of events leading to Mr Palin’s death remain unclear. It means I cannot rule out the possibility that what happened was a terrible accident or a cry for help. I therefore intend to record an open conclusion.”