Café owner died after being punched by security guard in Thailand over ‘unpaid bill’

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The owner of a popular café was killed after being punched by a security guard in Thailand, an inquest heard.

Former Army officer Mike Jones-Mathias, 55, was on a work trip when he went to a bar in Pattaya on his way back to his hotel.

Mr Jones-Mathias owns Cardiff café The Plan, in the Morgan Arcade, with his wife Veronica.

An inquest heard that while in Thailand, he dialled emergency number 911 in the early hours of the morning – just five minutes before CCTV captured him being punched to the floor.

Security guard Phumphat Tanosingh was charged with grievous bodily harm for the punch and faced a trial in Thailand.

Tanosingh was found not guilty after claiming self-defence – claiming Mr Jones-Mathias had attempted to leave the Mandarin Agogo bar without paying his bill.

Mrs Jones-Mathias, 50, said: “For the record, I know my husband would never have left a bar without paying a bill.

“What could have happened in that establishment that could make that punch lawful?”

She questioned why her husband would have called for emergency assistance while in the bar.

CCTV footage played in the inquest showed Mr Jones-Mathias walking backward in the main street outside.

He threw a punch to the air as he is approached by two Thai men – and is then hit to the floor with one horror punch.

 

The inquest in Pontypridd heard Mr Jones-Mathias was at the start of a three-month work trip as a senior operations project manager.

He had gone for an evening meal with his senior management team but later decided to stop at a bar alone on May 17 last year.

Veronica said: “At no point in the court transcript does it mention the video shown. Why was the video not shown in evidence?

“The judgement was handed down without them knowing that Mike was dead. Had they known I wonder whether or not the conclusion would have been different.”

She added her husband put up a “monumental fight” while recovering from his brain injury.

The inquest heard Mr Jones-Mathias underwent surgery in Thailand for damage to his right frontal lobe and was finally flown to Cardiff six weeks later but he tragically died on March 24 this year after his health deteriorated.

Professor Phillip Smith, of University Hospital of Wales, gave a cause of death as pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia and traumatic brain injury.

Mr Jones-Mathias, from Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, graduated as an officer in the Army in 1984 and served in the first Gulf War.

He later worked as an operations manager for heavy lift and installation engineering projects in the Middle East.

 

Acting senior coroner Graeme Hughes rejected the family’s request for a conclusion of unlawful killing.

He said: “Yes, it was on the evidence deliberate but was it unlawful?

“I haven’t heard any evidence from the assailant. If he was here in the UK then he would be called as a witness and he could be questioned.

“He has not had the opportunity to come before me and make representations to me.

“I have to bear in mind that there was a trial of some sorts in Thailand and as a consequence, he was acquitted.

“I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that it would be safe for me to reach unlawful killing.”

Recording a narrative conclusion, he said: “The deceased died as a consequence of complications arising from head injuries sustained following a punch to the head.”



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