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Fisherman's death in Thailand ruled as accidental by inquest

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 14, 2012

A drunken fisherman from Cornwall died in Thailand after he fell off his motorcycle at high speed and hit his head just two days before he was due to fly home, an inquest heard.

Stephen West, 37, lived half of the year in Newquay and the other half in the South East Asian county.

On the night of March 27, 2009, he had been out drinking in bars and clubs in the town of Pong, in the Bang Lamung district of the country.

The inquest at Truro yesterday heard Mr West, was not wearing a helmet when he fell to his death at around 8.40pm.

A post-mortem revealed 261mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – the legal British drink-drive limit is 80mg.

In a letter read out to the court, Mr West's friend, Adam Richards, described how the pair rode to nearby Pattaya on their motorcycles for a "catch-up drink" before deciding to head back to Pong.

Mr Richards said he became separated from his friend and attempts to contact him via his mobile phone had failed.

He said he blamed himself for his friend's death, adding: "I know I will never have a friend like him again.

"I can't help but feel some guilt as we should not have driven the bikes after drinking."

A Thai police investigation report was read out to the court. It read: "The accident occurred because the high speed at which the deceased was driving meant that when he reached the scene of the incident, where the road curved, he was unable to halt or brake in time."

Emma Carlyon, coroner, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

No friends or family of the dead man attended the inquest. His mother and sister live in America.

Mr West met his Thai wife, Thipwaree 'Oum' Paksi, while holidaying in the popular tourist spot in 2001.

Following his death she said: "He enjoyed his life so much and he would always get on with everybody. My family liked him, he would get on with everybody, he was a very friendly person. He enjoyed being free like a bird and liked travelling and working in the open, especially fishing. When he was in Thailand he liked to do gardening, play with the dogs and ride motorbikes."

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