Ex-Edinburgh College lecturer found dead in Thai hotel

Patong beach in Thailand. Picture: AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong

Patong beach in Thailand. Picture: AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong

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A FORMER Edinburgh College lecturer has been found dead during a holiday in Thailand.

Mike Smith, 45, who worked in the computing department at the former Stevenson College, was discovered in his room in Patong, a beach resort town on the west coast of Phuket Island, in the south-west of the country.

It is understood he was on a short break to Thailand, but it is not clear how long he had been there.

Reports said he was found inside the closet in the room of the residence where he was staying.

A friend who was staying in the next room is said to have raised the alarm after being unable to get an answer from Mr Smith.

The friend summoned an employee of the residence to help gain entry to the room and they discovered his body.

A former colleague, who asked not to be named, described Mr Smith’s death as “tragic”.

He said: “We were all shocked who knew him. It’s just a feeling of disbelief.

“As far as I know, he was on holiday in Thailand with a friend who used to work in the janitorial department at the college. They had kept in touch after Mike left the college.

“Mike probably left about five or six years ago. He worked in the computing section as a lecturer and I guess he had been there about five or six years.”

He said news of the tragedy had filtered through from someone else at the college who had heard from the ex-janitor.

Lt Col Jongserm Preecha, of Patong Police, confirmed the circumstances of Mr Smith’s death.

He said: “His friend, who lives next door, came to ask the employee to open Mr Smith’s door, as he was worried and couldn’t get a hold of him.

“The door handle was locked and the chain lock was also engaged. However, once they were able to get inside the room, they found Mr Smith’s body.”

Police did not name the person identified as Mr Smith’s friend. However, there were no signs of a struggle and Mr Smith’s wallet was still in the room along with about 6000 baht in cash – about £100.

Lt Col Jongserm said: “We will continue to investigate the case. We have yet to rule out either suicide or foul play.”

A spokesman from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We can confirm the death of a British National in Thailand on September 24.

“We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com