Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Suicide-by-socks theory fails the test

Sep 09. 2016
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Re: “Three forensic doctors join Justice Ministry investigation of death in DSI custody”, National, September 7.
Equipped with a pair of socks and a door, I have just attempted a re-enactment of Thawatchai’s “suicide”. This was not, I must stress, an attempt to do away with myself, because I lead a happy and blameless life in Thailand, and do not suffer the ignominy of a major tourist island having been built on fake land titles signed by my hand.
I encountered a few snags. First, the door hinge from which the land official is alleged to have hung himself is inaccessible to a sock unless the door is open. Since cell doors are generally kept locked and bolted, one wonders why Thawatchai didn’t simply walk out and go home.
Second, we learn that Thawatchai was wearing short socks. A typical short sock is 30cm in length, while a typical heavy-duty door hinge is about 12cm, leaving only 6cm or so once the sock has been wrapped around the hinge. With the second sock knotted to the first, I found there was insufficient length to pass it around my neck. Not wishing to abandon the re-enactment at this stage, I took a third sock (it’s possible that Thawatchai had a thinner neck than I) and succeeded in tying it around my neck. It felt quite comfortable, and failed to leave the thin marks described by the forensics team. 
The third snag was the topmost hinge is not sufficiently high above the ground to enable a human body to dangle freely without feet touching the ground, unless that person is very short. So I remain happily alive. 
At no point did the re-enactment cause me any internal haemorrhaging.
Nigel Pike

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