Matthew Darling Richardson
Phuket’s Muay Thai scene is in shock following the suicide of one of their foreign fighters. The Canadian hanged himself in his bathroom apartment in Patong on Monday.
The news of the suicide of Matthew Darling Richardson, 27, reached authorities on Monday morning at 10:20. “The girlfriend of the deceased notified us about the death of her boyfriend whom she found at his apartment”, Pol Capt Sininat Chuedchutdaraguntong, deputy investigator at Patong Provincial Police Station, recalled. Pol Capt Sininat and Deputy Investigator Pol Capt Seksan Bragabsin were assigned to follow up with the case.
Dana Rae Schofield, Mr Matthew’s girlfriend of four years, found Mr Richardson’s body after several unsuccessful attempts to contact him by phone. “Ms Dana went to his apartment to check on him,” said Pol Capt Sininat. “When noone answered the door, she asked labourers working nearby to break the door open. She eventually found Mr Richardson’s body in the bathroom.”
Police released a photograph of the scene which showed Mr Richardson lying with his face down on the tiled floor in his bathroom wearing only black shorts. Thai media reported that a black strap from a backpack had been wrapped around his neck. Police also found a overturned plastic stool in the bathroom in front of the door.
Pol Capt Sininat said Mr Richardson had been dead for at least two hours. “It looks like Mr Richardson had strangled himself to death by wrapping the backpack strap around his neck, attaching it to the door and tipping over the stool on which he was standing,” explained the investigator.
Initial statements about his death suggested there were no signs of physical assault on his body. However, in an article by The Phuket News published the following day, Pol Col Tassanai Orarigadech corrected the statement and said there were indeed bruises found on Mr Richardson’s body.
Based on these injuries and supplementary information on the case, Pol Col Tassanai stated he has not ruled out the possibility that Mr Richardson might have been a murder victim. “After receiving some information about the case, I do not yet want to conclude that he committed suicide,” Pol Col Tassanai told The Phuket News on Tuesday. Whether the bruises were a sign of an attack or merely the result of previous Muay Thai matches has now to be determined by a pathologist at Surat Thani Hospital on the mainland. Pol Col Tassanai said, “We need this forensic report so that we can know the exact cause of death in this case.”
Mr Richardson, a Canadian citizen with Jamaican roots, was known to be a promising figure in Phuket’s Muay Thai scene. While living in Phuket over the last five years, he became well-known for participating in high-level Muay Thai competitions including MX Muay Extreme and cage fighting. The kickboxer had been living alone in a rented apartment on Hasippi Rd in Patong subdistrict, Kathu district at the time of his death. Mr Richardson and Ms Schofield also owned a gym specialising in Muay Thai fighting in Phuket.
At this stage, police refused to reveal any possible motivation for Mr Richardson’s death, but stated that the Canadian embassy has already contacted his relatives.
A post on Facebook in English and Thai four days before his death says, “Thank you for everything Ajarn Chaynoi! Safe travels & see you soon!”
The investigation continues.
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