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‘Violent attack’ in Brit tourist’s plea for fundraising exposed as fake

Michael Laverty, a 50-year-old Army veteran, and his wife Denise, both from Newton Aycliffe, Durham, northeast England, launched a fundraising campaign to pay for hospital bills after Mr Laverty suffered multiple leg fractures.

In the plea to raise funds on the popular Crowdfunder website, it was claimed that Mr Laverty sustained his injuries in a vicious mugging in Phuket last Thursday (Nov 2) just hours after the couple landed on the island to celebrate Mr Laverty’s 50th birthday. (See story here.)

However, Phuket Tourist Police confirmed to The Phuket News today that CCTV footage from the hotel where Mr Laverty was injured showed him plainly jumping over a first-floor balcony rail – unassisted – to fall six to seven metres below at about 00:10 on Nov 3. (See CCTV footage in Phuket Xtra, click here.)

“Staff heard him screaming and ran to help. They called a rescue team which soon arrived and took him to Patong Hospital,” Capt Ekkachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police explained to The Phuket News.

Mr Laverty was transferred to Bangkok Hospital Phuket in Phuket Town last Saturday (Nov 4), he added.

Later last Saturday morning, Mr Laverty’s wife, Denise, called the Tourist Police hotline 1155 to report that her husband had been attacked by three or four Thai men, Capt Ekkachai explained.

“It was reported that he was robbed and his watch was stolen at the Thara Patong Beach Resort & Spa. We were told that he wanted to file a report in order for his medical insurance provider, so I went to see him at Bangkok Hospital Phuket (on Nov 4),” he recalled.

“However, when I questioned witnesses during my investigation I found that his account of what happened did not match with what the witnesses told me. For example, hotel staff found his watch near where he landed on the ground. In fact, his watch is still here with me,” Capt Eakkachai said.

The British man who claimed his leg was broken when he was mugged at gunpoint in a violent attack in Phuket last Thursday (Nov 2) fled the island with his wife this morning (Nov 7) on a flight to Dubai before police could present him with CCTV evidence showing him jumping from a hotel balcony in Patong.

“Also, CCTV from the resort shows the couple arriving in the lobby, then Mr Laverty goes up to the first floor and starts checking doors while walking along the balcony,” Capt Ekkachai noted.

The CCTV footage then shows Mr Laverty placing a foot on top of the balcony rail before launching himself over the side.

Capt Ekkachai noted that the couple were not even guests at the Thara Patong Beach Resort & Spa. Instead, they were staying at the Swissôtel Resort Phuket Patong Beach.

“I went back to question Mr Laverty again today, but he had been discharged from the hospital. I believe their medical treatment was paid, somehow. Now, they have left Phuket,” he added.

According to Phuket Immigration, Mr Laverty and his wife left Phuket on Emirates Flight EK397, which took off from Phuket International Airport at 9:22am and was scheduled to land at Dubai International Airport at 12:57pm today.

Immigration has been notified of the incident, Capt Eakkachai confirmed.

It has not been confirmed whether Mr or Mrs Laverty have been added to the Immigration Bureau blacklist under the “Good Guys In, Bad Guys Out” policy.

Capt Ekkachai also explained that police cannot pursue any further legal action for intentionally providing misinformation to officials as no written formal complaint had been filed with police.

The Phuket News

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