BANGKOK – Lance Whitmore who was caught in a Pattaya Supermarket with close to 200 ecstasy tablets seven month ago is now covered in sores, pale and pitifully thin, in Thailand’s hellish Klong Prem prison.
Crippled by tooth decay, the former soldier shares a cramped, furnace-hot cell, designed to accommodate 20 people with 78 other inmates.
Lance, who gained employment in Thailand with Petroleum Oil Services, was snared in a store only yards from his dad’s restaurant. “He was taken to a safe house,” Russ Whitmore said.
“He was manacled and chained and kept there for three days. This was not a police station – I spoke to the local police and they didn’t know anything.
Since the 26-year-old was spirited to Klong Prem he has witnessed two stabbings and an attempted rape and a cellmate have his ear bitten off in a brutal attack.
Lance has now developed an appendix problem, has skin mites and open skin infections. All I have left as a father now is pleading for help. I wish I didn’t have to.
Fighting back tears, the 54-year-old dad told the Sunday Mercury: “He says he wants to kill himself. He wants to commit suicide.
This is justice, Thai style. The high price for allegedly peddling drugs in a country that still dishes out death by lethal injection.
And for only £61,000 (Bt 2,960,000) a sky-high price of bail, Lance can get his freedom. The bail amount is beyond Russ Whitmore, who is forking out £2,000 (Bt97,000) a month just to retain the services of a Thai lawyer.
Just last week, he claims, that lawyer spent three hours at the notorious Klong Prem prison, trying to gain access to Lance before eventually being told that he could not be located.
His family claim evidence has been fabricated and altered to hike the sentence, obstacles have been thrown in the path of the legal process and Lance’s life behind bars. They also believe Lance was the victim of entrapment.
They are adamant that the 25 years to life sentence which looms, does not fit the crime.
His father Russ says Lance will admit to the offence, he has no choice a guilty plea halves the sentence.
Lance’s Mother Debbie Caswell who was with former partner Russ for 13 years, still cannot comprehend how her fitness fanatic son is associated with drugs. “I have never known him take anything,” she said.
She bitterly regrets not doing more to prevent her son returning to Thailand in March, 2014, following the death of his 25-year-old fiancée Jitma Tahin, known as Tree, from meningitis.
“He was back here for quite a while, but he was not himself. He adored that girl, loved her to bits,” she explained.
She has written to MPs and to Prime Minister David Cameron, but has received only stock responses, but Debbie has not given up hope. “Something inside tells me it will all be all right,” she vowed.