Khunying Porntip is an adviser to a Justice Ministry fact-finding panel tasked with investigating the alleged suicide of the 66-year-old former official attached to the Phuket and Phang Nga land offices.
Mr Tawatchai reportedly tried to commit suicide by hanging himself with a pair of socks while being detained on the sixth floor of the Department of Special Investigation’s (DSI) head office on Chaeng Watthana Rd in the early hours of Aug 30. He died later at nearby Mongkutwattana Hospital.
An autopsy report by the Police General Hospital indicated the cause of death was “abdominal haemorrhaging and a ruptured liver from being hit by a solid, blunt object”.
The committee’s investigation focused mainly on whether Mr Tawatchai had hanged himself or been hanged by his socks on a door hinge of his detention cell and how his liver had been ruptured.
Khunying Porntip, a member of the National Reform Steering Assembly, said a ligature mark around Mr Tawatchai’s neck was not over 0.5 centimetres wide, consistent with the width of the stretched socks.
She also said there were no signs of manual strangulation. A medical report and photographs showed broken blood vessels in the whites of his eyes, indicating he was still alive when he hanged himself or was hanged.
The police autopsy report indicated his larynx bones were broken. However, Khunying Porntip remained sceptical on this point because the mark appeared lower than the larynx and there was no photographic evidence of the damaged organ.
The panel conducted a re-enactment of the hanging of Mr Tawatchai in the DSI detention room using a new pair of socks with similar fabric the dead man had allegedly used and a person of the same height.
Dumbells of 40, 60 and 80 kilogrammes were tied to each sock and the panel found the maximum width was not over 0.5cm, matching the mark on Mr Tawatchai’s neck.
Khunying Porntip said the panel concluded that the socks could have created the mark on Mr Tawatchai’s neck and he could have used them to hang himself with when the door was closed, but whether the socks were put on his neck by someone else had yet to be investigated.
The former director-general of the Central Institute of Forensic Science said Mr Tawatchai was taken to Mongkutwattana Hospital at 1am on Aug 30 when he had no pulse. The medical team performed CPR on him countless times and the patient breathed again but remained unconscious.
An X-ray image taken at 2:20am showed his ribs were intact but the autopsy report said he had broken ribs in both left and right sides, said Khunying Porntip, adding the inconsistencies would be investigated.
As for the ruptured liver, the veteran forensic expert said a medical report and photos provided by Mongkutwattana hospital indicated a large rupture in the middle section of his liver and abdominal bleeding of 1,000cc of blood, but did not specify the time when the injury took place.
Medical experts will meet today (Sept 20) to discuss further the cause of his liver’s injury, she said.
Matichon Online reported that Mr Tawatchai’s liver had been normal when he was X-rayed at the hospital at 2:20am but the rupture was discovered later between 9am and 10am.
Read original story here.