The family of a New Zealand man stabbed to death in Thailand have rubbished his accused murderer’s claim that he acted in self-defence.
Charles Jones, 56, from Westport, who was president of the World Croquet Federation, was stabbed in an apartment in the Thai resort town of Pattaya last week.
Thai police have arrested and charged Mohamad Shanar Ryad, 21, a former Syrian Army commando, with Jones’ murder.
Ryad is also accused of stealing Jones’ laptop computer, wrist watch and mobile phone, which have not been recovered.
Ryad is a UN-registered refugee who fled to Thailand following the recent uprising in Syria.
He was working as a chef in a Lebanese restaurant when he claims Jones invited him to his rented apartment to smoke marijuana.
The local Pattaya One newspaper reported that during a police a reconstruction of events at the apartment Ryad claimed that Jones picked up a knife and demanded the pair had sex.
An argument followed, during which Ryad was able to turn the knife on Jones, “who literally stabbed himself”.
Jones ‘ brother in law angrily rejected these claims, the Otago Daily Times reported.
“We know damn well he didn’t smoke marijuana. It’s utter rubbish. This guy is on a murder charge, he will say anything to get off.”
McMillan said it was “grossly” unfair that the claims were made public when Jones was not alive to defend himself.
Jones had just started a six week holiday in Thailand on his way back from a world croquet championship tournament in London.
Long-time friend Paul Archer told the Westport News the death was “an absolute tragedy”.
“I’m reeling from the shock of it. It’s been a brutal, brutal death
“He’s world president of croquet, he’s a JP, he’s a QSM. He’s hugely involved in the Westport community as he was in the Wellington community…he was selfless with his time.”
Jones, a late convert to Catholicism, played the organ in Westport’s St Canice’s Church and was a volunteer helper at the O’Conor Memorial Rest Home. He returned to Westport about five years ago to look after his ailing mother, Jean, who died last year.