Thai coma man ‘abandoned by UK’

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FRIENDS and family of a Yorkshire teacher in a coma in Thailand say they feel the UK government has deserted them in their fight to save him and bring him home.

Adam Pickles, 40, has been in hospital for two weeks, where his care is costing upwards of £2,000 a day, after a stranger savagely attacked him with a metal bar.

The new father’s loved ones claim Thai police are doing nothing but his insurance provider is refusing to pay out until it has the outcome of their investigation.

Now they are pushing for a meeting with Foreign Secretary William Hague after British Consul Michael Hancock allegedly refused to meet his parents Adele and Andrew.

Friend Katie Jones said a junior British Embassy worker was helping Mr Pickles’ family but the urgency of the matter called for intervention from higher up.

“It is life or death. We feel anger, and we feel deserted by the UK government. They should be helping in situations like this. They can’t possibly even consider leaving a UK national to die in these circumstances. It’s outrageous.”

Mr Pickles, who used to teach at Wakefield’s Cathedral School, moved to Pattaya, Thailand, seven years ago to work at the Regent’s International School.

The former Bradford Grammar School and Humberside University student was viciously beaten over the head as he made his way home alone from a bar.

He had to have two emergency brain operations and is still in intensive care after more surgery yesterday.

It is expected to cost £70,000 to fly him to the UK for treatment once he is well enough.

Miss Jones said his insurance company, Bangkok Life Assurance Ltd, would not pay out until police rule out the possibility of his injuries being the result of a brawl.

The 36-year-old, of Leeds, said: “The police investigation is non-existent. They are doing absolutely nothing whatsoever to catch the person who did this. He was hit with a metal bar – there are no signs of a brawl.”

The cost of his care is not the only problem the family face. Mr Pickles’ passport is lost, which could complicate his repatriation, and his mother’s visa expires soon.

“Her son is in a coma, she doesn’t want to leave the country. She wants to be there to support him,” said Miss Jones.

The Foreign Office last night pledged to give consular support and press police to investigate.

A spokeswoman said: “Staff at the British Consulate in Pattaya have visited Mr Pickles, met with his family and will continue to provide support to them following this tragic incident.

“We cannot interfere in the affairs of another country’s judicial system, but we have raised this matter with the Royal Thai Police, and will continue to press for a full investigation.”

Mr Pickles had only just recovered from a motorbike accident which also left him in a coma, which meant he missed the birth of his eight-month-old son Benjamin.

His condition is still critical but has been slowly improving.

“The swelling on the brain has gone down so that’s no longer a threat to his life,” said Miss Jones.

“He is still in a coma and the doctors have said he could be for another two weeks at least.

“The hospital have asked Adele and Andrew to play some music to him and he is starting to make some response to that. Things are moving very slowly, but they are moving in the right direction.”

More than £27,000 has now been raised through a Facebook fund-raising campaign set up to help pay for Mr Pickles’s care and repatriation and messages of support have poured in from people touched by his plight.

Miss Jones said: “It’s been absolutely incredible. The support isn’t showing any signs of stopping.”

To find out how to help visit www.donatetoadam.org.