Matthew Darling Richardson
Phuket’s Muay Thai boxing community is in shock following the supposed suicide of one of its foreign fighters who was found hanged in his apartment in Patong on Monday.
The news of the suicide of Matthew Darling Richardson, Canadian, 27, reached authorities on Monday morning at 10:20. “The girlfriend of the deceased notified us about her boyfriend’s death. She found him in the bathroom of his apartment”, stated Pol Capt Sininat Chuedchutdaraguntong, deputy investigator at Patong Provincial Police Station. Both Pol Capt Sininat and Deputy Investigator Pol Capt Seksan Bragabsin were assigned to follow up with the case.
Mr Matthew’s girlfriend of four years, Dana Rae Schofield, found Mr Richardson’s body after several unsuccessful attempts to contact him by phone. “Ms Schofield told us she went to his apartment to check on him,” said Pol Capt Sininat. “When no-one answered the door, she asked labourers working nearby to break the door open only to discover eventually found Mr Richardson’s body in the bathroom.”
Police released a photograph of the scene which showed Mr Richardson lying face-down on his tiled bathroom floor wearing only black shorts. Thai media reported that a black strap from a backpack was found wrapped around his neck and an overturned plastic stool in the bathroom close to the bathroom door.
Pol Capt Sininat said Mr Richardson had been dead for at least two hours before his body was disocvered. “It appears that Mr Richardson strangled himself to death by wrapping the backpack strap around his neck. We surmise that he attached the strap to the door and kicked over the stool he was standing on,” explained the investigator.
The initial police report about his death indicate that there were no signs of physical violence at the scene. However, in an article by The Phuket News published the following day, Pol Col Tassanai Orarigadech stated that there bruises had been found on Mr Richardson’s body.
As a result of these injuriesbruises and further information about the case, Pol Col Tassanai has not ruled out the possibility of foul play. “After receiving some information about the case, I do not yet want to conclude too early that the deceased committed suicide,” Pol Col Tassanai told The Phuket News on Tuesday. Whether the bruises were a sign of an attack or merely a result of previous Muay Thai matches has yet to be determined by a pathologist at Surat Thani Hospital on the mainland. Pol Col Tassanai said, “We need a full forensic report so that we can determine how old the bruises are as well as the time and cause of death.”
Mr Richardson, a Canadian citizen with Jamaican roots, was known to be a promising figure in Phuket’s Muay Thai community. During his five years in Phuket, he became well-known for participating in high-level Muay Thai competitions including cage fighting and MX Muay Extreme 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 in Phuket. 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!”
At this stage, police have refused to speculate about a possible motive for Mr Richardson’s apparent suicide. They have informed the Canadian Embassy who have alledgedly already contacted his relatives.
The investigation continues.
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