Edinburgh man who died in Turkey had voiced Mafia fears

Marmaris resort. Picture: iStockphoto
Marmaris resort. Picture: iStockphoto

AN Edinburgh man who died in a mysterious fall whilst on holiday in Turkey made a chilling phone call to his family just days before his death claiming he was being chased by the Mafia, an inquest heard.

Billy Wallace, 35, rang his father in a panic from a hospital bed in Marmaris after he suffered a broken ankle when he jumped from a moving taxi.

The council electrician claimed “someone was after him” and said he had became injured as he had to leap out of the cab as it inexplicably changed direction whilst driving him to the airport and he feared he was being kidnapped.

Mr Wallace, from Edinburgh, later jumped out of a window at the medical centre and as a result was moved 164 miles to Mugla Sitki University Hospital in Izmir.

But he was seen to fall again from a window sill at Izmir hospital whilst staff were treating another patient in the same room. He died two days later from multiple injuries. Tests showed he had no traces of drugs or alcohol in his system.

The hearing in Manchester was told the incident occurred in 2015 whilst Mr Wallace - who worked for Edinburgh City Council and described as a “pleasant, polite, well mannered man” - was thought to be holidaying alone in Turkey.

His father William Wallace Snr from Charleston, Dundee, said: “We believe he went to Turkey on his own although we have since heard that he might have been with someone but nobody has been able to confirm this.

“He was always busy and we would be the ones contacting him. We saw him quite recently before he went away and he was his usual, happy self.

“He had an episode of depression in 2002 and a problem with alcohol in 2006 but nothing since then. On the 29th of September 2015, I received a phone call from Bill and he said he had got himself in a bit of trouble. He mentioned that there was someone after him and he mentioned the Mafia. He said he had got a taxi to go to the airport but it went the wrong way and so he jumped out.

“He said he was going to destroy his passport and when we picked it up after his death it was very damaged. He ended up breaking his ankle and was admitted to hospital in Marmaris. We made phone call to the Foreign Office to try to find what was going on.

“We spoke to our embassy in Turkey and they told us he was in hospital having broken his ankle and said that he was mentally unstable and could not fly home unsupervised. They said that his behaviour was very erratic.

“On September 30 we received a call saying that he had got out of the window in hospital and injured himself and was being moved to another hospital in Izmir. But then on October 1, I got a call asking permission to operate on him because he had fallen from a window.

“Over the next few days it all became a blur and we received a series of phone calls from the embassy who were trying to work out what was happening. We decided to fly out on October 6 and meet him at the hospital, at that point he was very ill and we stayed with him until he died on the 8th of October.

“There was some reports about strange things happening at that time and I looked at his hotel on Trip Advisor and people had been saying not to go to that hotel.

“If Billy had been on drugs I would be surprised. He was fit and active and had a full time job. I think he was frightened and that is why he sounded mentally unstable.

A report from the hospital in Izmir said that Billy was sharing a room with another patient. It claimed the patient was being seen by doctors when Billy was spotted standing on the window sill. Someone shouted ‘stop, don’t do it, don’t jump’ but the report said he let himself fall.

Recording an open conclusion, Coroner Nigel Meadows said: “How he came to be in this position is not clear. He might have many years had a depressive episode but there is no evidence of this leading up to these events and there is no history of him taking any illicit drugs.

“He was an electrician and his employer had no concerns about his behaviour and they regarded him as a good employee.

“There was no concern from any of his family about his behaviour before he went away. He decided to go on holiday to Turkey and stayed in a hotel in Marmaris. There was no concern until he rang his father and gave an account of trying to flee and behaving in a way as if he was trying to get away from someone.

“He was trying to get a taxi to the airport but the taxi went the wrong way and he got out of the moving taxi. He received a broken ankle and is taken to hospital where he is then moved to another hospital and in that hospital is seen on a window sill and falls or throws himself from it.

“We have no evidence that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the original accident and there are a number of possible explanations as to what happened. He could have genuinely believed that someone was trying to get to him. He seems to be a fully stable character and it seems extremely unusual behaviour.

“Had this happened in the United Kingdom this would have been fully investigated. There are a number of possibilities but it seems to me very usually with someone living a fully stable life to behave in such an irrational way.

“Your son died in the most unusual circumstances and understandably you want to get to the bottom of it. Whether the police in Scotland can do anything about it is a different matter and all I can do is ask them to look into this if you wish me to do so.”

The inquest was held in Manchester as it was the city where Billy’s body was flown back to.