“My son is in fear of his life – please help him.” This is the plea of a mum whose disabled son was thrown into a Thai jail after picking up the wrong suitcase at the airport.
Steven Moody, who was brought up in Skegness, was on a visit to his Thai bride in April when the mix-up happened that turned a romantic holiday into a nightmare.
Mum Carol Swanson said: “I am at my wits end. Steven is severely disabled after having a large brain tumour removed in 2007. The operation lasted 10 hours and he has been left with limited sight, limited hearing, blurred vision, lack of concentration, blackouts and walks with a wobble. He has also suffered from depression and struggles to cope with everyday life.
“He met and married a Thai girl who is living in Thailand and the nightmare began when he went to visit see her. There seems to have been some confusion over a suitcase – I believe he picked up the wrong one. As a result he was arrested and sent to Samut Parkan prison just outside Bangkok.
“His ‘crime’ I understand is theft. Steven didn’t realise he had picked up the wrong suitcase until he was at his wife’s home – a three-hour drive away. He had chosen a bright yellow one to make it easy to spot. When he realised his mistake he panicked and threw it away, but now the owner is claiming it contained £20,000 worth of diamonds.
“He is incarcerated with murderers, rapists, drug dealers and heaven knows what other kind of hardened criminals. Many of the others in the cell are infected with HIV and other contagious conditions.
“He is suffering as a result of his condition and has been beaten by other prisoners. He is afraid of going to sleep in case he is attacked again and has made a suicide attempt.”
Steven’s friend, Leigh Blackbourn, flew out when he heard the news and has been in touch with the British Embassy. Back in the UK, he told the Standard: “He is the only English man there and is in a very distraught state, living in horrific conditions in a room with 80 others. He has contracted scabies because of the poor hygiene and his diet is rice, cold egg and wafers. There is no air conditioning and temperatures reach 36C. I took him a pillow because of his brain tumour because he’s sleeping with the others on a one-inch mattress on the floor but I don’t know if they let him keep it. I’m hoping to go back out and we are trying to get him bail. But we are worried for him - he should not be there
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We have been providing assistance since he was detained in Thailand in April 2016, including visits to him to check on his welfare. We will remain in close contact with local authorities to ensure he is receiving appropriate support.”