Police suspect that an overdose of paracetamol led to the death of a British national on June 7. The 53-year-old male died at his house in Surin province.
Police confirmed his wife called Sikhoraphum Provincial Police Station to inform them of the incident at 13:05 on Wednesday afternoon. “She told us that her husband had died at his home inside Ban Ya Yan village,” deputy investigator Pol Maj Witwat Gaeolao told Thai media. The deceased was identified as Neil Curtis who was born in Portsmouth in England.
When police and a medical examiner from Sikhoraphum Hospital arrived at the couple’s residence, located in Moo 17 in Nong Lek subdistrict, Mr Curtis’s wife Natta Bunjan, 45, led officers to the back of the building. “We found Mr Curtis’ body lying face up on the concrete floor below a hammock,” Pol Maj Witwat explained. “There were no signs of a struggle or other evidence that might indicate that a crime had taken place.”
Police questioned Mrs Natta who revealed that the couple had been married for two years and moved into the house in 2016. The family kept ten cows on their property and owned another 15 rai (2400m²) land plot where Mr Curtis harvested rice. Investigator Pol Maj Witwat quoted Mrs Natta as saying, “The villagers liked him because he was a hard worker and got along well with the community.”
According to Mrs Natta, on the day he died, Mr Curtis had been outside mowing the lawn around the rice field and feeding the cows. Around noon, he returned to take a break and rested in his hammock at the back of their house.
While he was resting, Mr Curtis complained about having a headache. “He took five 500mg Tylenol tablets with some orange juice. He fell asleep shortly afterwards,” Pol Maj Witwat said.
At about 12:45, Mrs Natta reportedly heard a noise in the backyard. When she went outside, she saw that her husband had fallen, face down, out of his hammock. She turned him around and began to administer chest compressions. However, her attempts were fruitless; he was already dead.
After police had finished examining the scene, an ambulance of Sikhoraphum Hospital brought the body to the hospital’s pathology ward for a post-mortem examination. “Based on our investigation, we believe that Mr Curtis died of a paracetamol poisening and that, as a doctor, he likely knew what he was doing.” Pol Maj Witwat indicated that he knew the lethal dose of the drug> is generally accepted as being between 10g and 24g.
“We have notified the British Embassy in Bangkok of the incident,” Pol Maj Witwat confirmed. “They are now going to contact Mr Curtis’ relatives to inform them of the sad news and to organise the repatriation of his body back to his home country.”
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