Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009
Murder hunts as Scots woman loses fight for life in Bangkok

From Andrew Drummond, Bangkok

An Inverness woman who was mugged in Thailand a week ago last Saturday has lost her fight for life in a Bangkok hospital.

Lydia Riach, 58, was pronounced dead at the police hospital in Bangkok at 11.44 last night (Sunday) her cremation will be held (Tuesday in a Thai temple in Klong Toey, Bangkok.

Her husband Douglas Riach, 57, a former director of Caledonian-Thistle Football Club said today: 'She passed away peacefully.  I will be returning home with her ashes on Friday.

'It has been a gruelling week and now the inevitable has happened. In a way it comes as a relief and a blessing.'

Her death means that Thai police are now involved in a murder hunt. No suspects have been arrested but spokesman for Thai Police at Thonglor said last night: 'We have a witness and leads. We will apprehend the killers.'

Douglas Riach added: 'Please let me take this opportunity to thank all those who have given their support. It has been tremendous and has helped the family through these trying times.

'It has really helped us get through these last few days. The Embassy have also been very good and helped us through the business of sorting out cremation arrangements and organising a ticket so I can get home quickly now.

'I am returning with Lydia on Friday so we can be among relatives and lifelong friends.'

Lydia Riach was attacked by a motorcycle snatch team who grabbed her hand-bag as she walked in single file behind her husband in a narrow lane of the city's Sukhumvit Road.

Lydia, who was wearing her bag around her head and shoulders was dragged to the ground and her skull was split on the roadway.

The couple, were on their way to watch Saturday football at the Scottish owned Twenty Two bar owned by  Ray McLaughlin, from Paisley.

Expatriates at the bar shocked at the attack have been giving to a fund to help pay for hospital costs.

Said  Mr.McLaughlin: 'It's such a sad thing to happen to a very lovely and obviously happy couple. Everbody wants to help out.  It has angered many people to see this sort of thing happen in Bangkok.

'When I came here 15 years ago this sort of thing would have been unheard of.'

Douglas, is an Honorary Life President of the Highland Car Club, and former rally driver. The couple were popular both in Inverness and Bangkok where they had started a new life.

He said: 'This has not changed my view of Thailand and Thai people who have been very kind to us both. It could happen in other cities. Wrong place wrong time. Nothing more than that.'

Douglas arrived two years ago and got employment as a sales consultant with Infinity, a financial consultancy.

Lydia was due to start work in an orphanage helping under privileged children.


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