Tayside and Central Scotland

Island mystery: 'How did my son die in Thailand?'

David Cornock Image copyright David Cornock
Image caption David Cornock was found dead almost four months ago but the cause of death remains undetermined

Police in Thailand are being urged to investigate the unexplained death of a Scottish engineer in his own home.

The body of David Cornock, 37, was discovered by his wife, Grecelle, in their bungalow in Koh Samui on 2 May.

But it was eight days before a post mortem was held by which time the cause of death could not be established due to decomposition.

The Foreign Office has raised the case with both the Thai Police and Interpol.

David's father has also enlisted the help former detective David Swindle, co-founder of Justice Abroad.

Mr Cornock, of Montrose, told BBC Scotland: "As a family we have been left in the dark and David's death remains undetermined.

"We have no visibility of the circumstances surrounding David's passing and have many concerns with regards to this.

"We will never see our beloved son again and we never got the opportunity to say goodbye.

"It is our duty to seek truth, clarity and justice."

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Media caption'We've never had official contact about our son's death'

The engineering account manager last heard from David on Sunday 28 April.

Mr Cornock, 59, recalled a typical long distance phone call in which they discussed football and roast dinners as his son prepared to meet up with some friends.

The following day he received a text message from David - who has a son and stepdaughter in Brazil - with some advice about buying a motorbike.

It was the last contact between them.

At 11:00 on Thursday 2 May Mr Cornock's wife, Margaret, called him during a meeting in Aberdeen.

"I was completely shocked and bewildered," he said.

"I told the man I was with 'My son has just died' and he grabbed me. I don't remember the journey home. Looking back now it's like a dream.

"I still think David is going to walk in the house or give me a call."

Image copyright David Cornock
Image caption David holding his son, David Jnr, with stepdaughter Paola and father David
Image copyright David Cornock
Image caption David's job had taken him to many parts of the world

When David's body was repatriated on 17 May, Mr Cornock was contacted by an official who had reviewed the death certificate.

It stated: "Could not determine the cause of death due to decomposition changes in body."

The family were asked if they wanted a second post mortem but, anxious to avoid further delay, opted to proceed with the funeral.

David's requiem mass was held in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, on 31 May and afterwards he was cremated.

For the last three months the family have been anxiously seeking answers as to how David died.

They are also striving to establish what, if anything, local officers did at the scene to collect and preserve evidence. But, to date, they have had no formal response from the Royal Thai Police.

The only paperwork they have managed to obtain is a post mortem report which confirms a major delay between the discovery of David's body and the examination.

The document, which they had to translate, concluded the cause of death could not be determined due to the decomposition of vital organs.

Image copyright David Cornock
Image caption David was brought up in the village of Renton, West Dunbartonshire, and later moved to Australia

Mr Cornock said: "David was a devoted father, son and friend to many.

"He was a global traveller, entrepreneur, generous to a fault, trusting, loved a laugh and had a great sense of humour.

"We are broken by his loss."

His wife Margaret added: "I wouldn't like any other parent to go through what we are going through - sitting here, not having answers."

Image caption David's stepmother Margaret and father David have been left devastated by his death

David was brought up in Renton, West Dunbartonshire, and emigrated to Brisbane in Australia with his father, stepmother and stepsister in 1996.

He joined the Australian Navy and trained as an avionics engineer. When the family returned to Scotland in 2006 David worked in the offshore industry as a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) engineer.

The job took him all over the world, including stints in Australia, China and Brazil where he met his first wife, Ana Paula. She already had a daughter, Paola, and they had a son, David Luiz, in 2012.

The family were living in Thailand when the couple split in 2015 but David continued to support them financially when they returned to Brazil.

While on business in the US he met American national Grecelle Rivera and they married in Florida in July 2017.

Image caption Retired Strathclyde Police detective David Swindle is best known for running Operation Anagram, which uncovered the crimes of serial killer Peter Tobin

The Justice Abroad team are reviewing all available case related material on behalf of the family to support investigations conducted by the authorities on Koh Samui.

Mr Swindle said: "Surely there must have been investigations conducted at the time which can provide more information?

"Despite numerous requests for further information about the Thai Police investigation no case related documentation has been made available to David's family which is a shocking lack of transparency and terrible way to treat someone losing a loved one in such tragic circumstances."

The investigator who has worked with the families of Kirsty Maxwell and Craig Mallon, said families who lose loved ones abroad in unexplained circumstances abroad are often "abandoned".

He added: "David's family continue to be in dialogue with their elected member and the FCO to attempt to obtain the case related documentation which I sincerely hope will assist them understand what happened to David and the extent of police investigations carried out."

Police Scotland have no powers to investigate the circumstances as David was not ordinarily resident in Scotland.

The family's MP Kirstene Hair, Conservative member for Angus, has written to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf to request an update on the case

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Our staff continue to provide support to the family of a British man following his death in Thailand and liaise with the Thai authorities".

The Royal Thai Police did not respond to BBC Scotland's request for a comment.

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