American scientist Shane Todd committed suicide by hanging himself, according to a coroner’s final verdict issued Monday.
State coroner Chay Yuen Fatt found that there was no foul play and that the deceased died by asphyxia due to hanging.
The electronics engineer was found hanged in his Singapore apartment in June last year. His passing was kept low-key, until his parents Rick and Mary Todd approached U.S. media insisting their son was murdered – for involvement in a secretive transnational project between Singaporean and Chinese firms.
The outcome of the inquiry, which cannot be appealed, comes after drama-filled events in court over two weeks of public hearings in May.
Upon arriving in Singapore, Todd’s parents accused local police of tampering with vital evidence. A week later, they stormed out of court and returned to America after their main witness, a U.S. pathologist, was mocked by the audience.
Despite having never seen the body, he theorized – without evidence – that Todd had been assassinated and was hanged for the appearance of suicide.
Todd’s parents maintain he was targeted after he quit his job at Singapore’s government-affiliated Institute of Microelectronics. They say their son had expressed unease over working with China’s Huawei Technologies on an allegedly high-tech project for military use.
The firms have denied working on a clandestine project involving Todd.
The Singapore government also rejected the conspiracy theory in favour of forensic evidence that Todd hanged himself, a position corroborated by two other testifying U.S. pathologists.
Additional findings presented by local authorities include a psychiatrist's testimony that he was depressed, suicide notes and a history of visiting suicide websites.
These conclusions were then summarily dismissed by Todd’s parents as “a sham and cover-up”.
US scientist's family says Singapore inquest 'a sham'
Shane Todd's family abandoning coroner's inquiry
Parents of US scientist hit out at Singapore police
RH: For the veracity, honesty and corruptibility of the Singapore courts and judges, read this Wikipedia article on former Singapore Solicitor-General Mr Francis SEOW and also, his insider account of the Singapore judiciary, in his excellent book Beyond Suspicion? -- The Singapore Judiciary [click], available on amazon.com [click here for link to book]. Book is described as:
Francis Seow has not just exposed the judiciary; he has also laid bare the serious limitations of the political system. This is a quite brilliant piece of sustained analysis of how the judiciary is harnessed to political persecution. It is a style and methodology that is more legalistic..., but it is only through this approach that the full magnitude of the judiciary's emasculation and the PAP's manic desire to crush the slightest semblance of serious scrutiny become fully clear. --Garry Rodan, Director, Asia Rresearch Centre, Murdoch University, Western Australia
This is an extremely valuable record of many significant cases and events that lay bare the dynamics of the Singapore judiciary and its intersection with political personalities and imperatives. It is an impressive work...of scholarly and public policy interest, providing chapter and verse on the politico-legal nexus in Singapore. -- Christopher Tremewan, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Auckland, New Zealand