Stephen Ronald Drewett
A gruesome murder took place at a farm close to amphoe Phon, Khon Kaen province late evening on December 15, 2009. The victim was Stephen Ronald Drewett, a 52-year-old man from England, who was allegedly shot dead by a relative of his wife.
According Denis Steele who was a close friend of the deceased, Mr Drewett was in the process of divorcing his wife whom he had been married to for 8 years after she repeatedly disappeared on purpose up to two weeks and came back with expensive jewellry which she said was given to her by friends.
The divorce was also meant to regain parts of the assets bought by Mr Drewett during the marriage, among them a hotel, a house, a farm, two cars and a motorbike. Documents show that his wife transferred most of his assets to herself by using her maiden name instead of the couple’s family name 4 months into the marriage.
Mr Drewett was confident he would have gotten at least 50 percent of his assets totalling over 20 million baht back, Mr Steele said in an e-mail conversation. But only six weeks before they had to appear in court in Khon Kaen province, Mr Drewett was shot.
About a week before his death, Mr Drewett was visited at his hotel by his wife and 8 of her family members “with axes and the normal Thai weaponry,” Mr Steele reports. After a heated discussion, the group then proceeded to take Mr Drewetts car in which he had hidden his last 6,000 baht, fearing it would not be safe in the hotel.
A few days after that incident, the wife called Mr Drewett and asked him to come to the wife’s farm to settle the dispute. Mr Steele’s attempts to convince him not to go were to no avail.
After he arrived at the farm, a shot was fired at Mr Drewett by the wife’s brother, but missed him. When Mr Drewett tried to escape from the premises by climbing over a wall, he was fatally shot in the back and succumbed to his injuries moments later. They allegedly told police that they thought he was an intruder and they were in danger.
According to Mr Steele, the police made no effort to investigate the case further and the brother who allegedly fired the deadly shots was released from detention the day after the incident.
Mr Steele, who lives with his son in Udon Thani, was given a three months time frame to find the next of kin in order to continue the dispute over Mr Drewett’s assets. But at the time the time he established contact with the victim’s son, the three months had passed and the assets legally transferred to his wife.
In March 2010, Stephen Ronald Drewett was cremated at a temple in Khon Kaen and his ashes scattered into the sea at Khao Takiab, Hua Hin where the three friends where going to open a business together.