Friday 23 August 2019

Mystery over tourist who died at Thailand party after sending ominous Whatsapp messages

Relatives of Andrew Apperley, 38, initially feared he had been murdered when he went missing
Relatives of Andrew Apperley, 38, initially feared he had been murdered when he went missing

Flora Thompson

The family of a tourist who vanished after a full moon party in Thailand said his death remained a mystery after an inquest did not offer any conclusive findings.

Relatives of Andrew Apperley, 38, initially feared he had been murdered when he went missing after the notorious gathering on the island of Ko Pha Ngan on 12 February, after sending them a host of cryptic WhatsApp messages.

Shortly before the father-of-one died, he sent messages which said: "OMG had a mad night, all the guys wanting [to] kill me," followed by another which spoke about a "scary guy with the face mask", an inquest heard on Thursday.

His body was found a few days later in the sea after he was reported missing.

Mr Apperley, a property manager from Eastbourne, East Sussex, had planned to return to his hotel by boat the morning after the party and fly back to the UK on 21 February.

Mr Apperley's wife Magdalena said she felt she would never know what truly happened after a coroner recorded an open verdict at the inquest into his death.

She and his mother Linda criticised Thai authorities for the lack of information provided in the investigation after he was believed to have drowned.

Speaking after the hearing at Eastbourne Coroner's Court, Magdalena Apperley said: "We didn't get closure. We will probably never know what happened to Andrew.

"We can't rule out foul play, we can't rule out drugs, or anything else that could have happened.

"The damage is done. We really hope his death can be turned into something positive and serve as a warning to other tourists going to the parties to be careful."

Coroner Alan Craze said there was a lack of evidence from the Thai authorities, who had not carried out a toxicology report.

He said: "There's pretty much no control on the island. Police presence there will have been hit and miss.

"I'm not being rude about the Thai authorities, I have been there many times, I love the country.

"But in terms of my job as a coroner it's hit and miss as to whether I will get useful information or not.

"I'm not getting sufficient or sufficiently reliable information. I think it's down to resources."

Mr Apperley had a history of drug taking, liked to party and regularly visited Thailand, the inquest heard.

Mr Craze said the post-mortem found no signs of a struggle, bruising or trauma, adding: "He led a bohemian lifestyle, he took drugs.

PA Media

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