CHIANG MAI – The Parents of 25 year old Thomas Cottrell from Gibraltar killed by an allegedly impaired driver in Pai during the Jive festival express dismay at Thai judicial system after 100 days with no arrests made, despite the driver admitting his wrongdoing.
Tom’s girlfriend Punika Ariayagun, 29, suffered severe physical damage in the accident. Her pelvis was crushed when Thanundon’s SUV rolled over it, and has required multiple surgeries.
Her body is currently being held together with steel plating. Doctors hope she will be able to walk normally again someday, but have said she will never be able to give birth naturally, due to severe pelvic damage.
Cottrell’s parents, Nicholas Edward Cottrell and Susannah Jane Cottrell joined in a 100 day merit-making ceremony at Wat Chaimongkon and floated their son’s ashes in a river, according to Buddhist funeral tradition.
The legal case has stagnated and despite calls for assistance from the British embassy, the driver has yet to be brought to justice. according to a CityNews report.
The Cottrells went to Pai to meet with Police Lieutenant Kiatsakul Chairattanajaroen, who is in charge of their son’s case, with the intention of following up on the case’s progress.
Cottrell’s parents also submitted documents to the Office of Mae Hong Son Public Prosecution, Pai branch, to ask for the prosecution to continue.
Susannah Cottrell says that they were left waiting at the police station for over an hour before the police arrived, and prior to meeting with them received an “unexpected and deeply upsetting” visit from the driver that killed their son, and his mother.
The pair have reportedly been attempting to negotiate a price to pay the parents of the deceased and injured in order to avoid charges, but neither of the victims’ families are willing to negotiate.
The driver Thanundon “Earn” Pratangkham, 30, has reportedly admitted that he was at fault for the road accident that killed 25-year-old British expat Thomas Treharne Cottrell and severely injured his Thai girlfriend, Punika Ariayagun, 29.
Thanundon confessed to police that he accepted responsibility for the accident because he was in the wrong lane when he went around the curve on the Pai road and collided into Cottrell’s motorcycle on January 18.
Results of the drug tests supposedly taken several days after the accident have not yet surfaced.
The Cottrells told City News that when looking at other road accidents causing death, the guilty party is almost certainly given a jail sentence, and have expressed concern towards the suspension of this case.
They expressed understanding that each case is different, but with allegations of drug involvement and how the toxicity reports have now ‘gone missing’, both his parents and Punika’s family are extremely worried the case will come up short.
A preliminary court case is set for June 4, but the whole process is expected to take up to a year before any rulings are made.
The Cottrells have asked for the case to follow the course of law and to see justice served to those responsible.