Ipswich: Paradise island death man in shock body mix-up

IPSWICH: Unanswered questions are today plaguing the devastated family of an Ipswich man whose body became involved in a shocking morgue mix-up after his sudden death in Thailand.

William Young, known as Billy, died on September 3, but his family in Suffolk only found out this week after his ex-wife Taz Young discovered an article in the local newspaper about his death.

She learned that mourners at the 61-year-old’s funeral were shocked to find the body handed over to his friends and current wife was not his – but that of an unidentified Westerner.

It is understood the 61-year-old, who married his second wife five years ago, died in his sleep.

But when his widow went to the Vachira Phuket Hospital morgue to retrieve Mr Young’s body, they were shocked to see he was “unrecognizable.”

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Despite assurances from staff at the hospital that the body was that of Mr Young, his friends’ suspicions were further aroused when staff gave them a bag said to contain Mr Young’s belongings. However, they bore no resemblance to his possessions.

A friend of Mr Young told the Phuket Gazette that it was not until the body had been taken to the temple ready for the cremation that the family of Mr Young’s wife discovered a bracelet on the body which listed the identity of the man as “unknown” and estimated he was 35 years old.

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After admitting the mix-up, the hospital asked that the unidentified body be returned.

Mr Young’s family were then finally able to retrieve his body before his cremation at the temple on September 8.

Dr Weerawat Yorsaengrat, deputy director of the hospital, said: “We admitted it was our mistake and rushed to prepare the body [Mr Young’s] for them to pick up before nightfall.

“Vachira Hospital apologizes to the family for this mistake.”

Shocked at learning of her ex-husband’s fate, Ms Young, who lived with him in London Road and Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, before he moved to Phuket in 1991, described him as a “larger-than-life character, the life and soul of the party.”

She said after losing contact with him after he came home six years ago, his family in Suffolk had been devastated to hear of his death.

“It was a horrible shock,” she said.

“We want to know what happened, how Billy died and why his friends and family out there didn’t contact anyone here.

“We just don’t understand what has happened, there are so many unanswered questions.

“We were best friends. His family are still my family, we are all devastated.”

The 50-year-old said her ex-husband would have found the mix-up at the hospital funny.

“I can’t believe even in death Billy has caused such confusion,” she added. “What happened at the temple, with the wrong body is Billy’s life in a nutshell, he would have laughed and found it quite funny. He was a bit crazy, quite a character.”

n Pay your tributes to Mr Young. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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