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Mystery still remains over Budock student's death in Africa

By West Briton  |  Posted: October 06, 2012

Paul Monk

THE mother of a trainee doctor found with a cut throat in Africa said an open inquest verdict was "inevitable" because of the lack of information.

There was insufficient evidence to say whether Paul Monk, of Budock, was killed by himself or someone else.

An investigation by local police produced a one-page report, a hand drawing of the scene and no forensic evidence.

Deputy Cornwall Coroner, Andrew Cox, said strenuous but unsuccessful efforts had been made to plug the gaps.

Mr Monk, 24, was discovered with a fatal neck wound and numerous wrist wounds in February 2009, while taking a year out from his studies.

A suicide note was found in his handwriting, but his family said he had made enemies in Africa and many questions remained unanswered.

After the hearing in Truro, attended by dozens of friends and family, Mr Monk's mother, Deborah Wetherell, praised British police for their investigation, hampered by the limited information apparently gathered at the scene.

She said they were "relieved" the matter had come to a close, but still did not know what to make of the events surrounding her son's death.

"When he died I was convinced he had been murdered, but over the years I have come to realise it is quite possible he killed himself," she told the West Briton. "I have been there and back with that and I don't know what to think."

"It is a constant pain, but it doesn't mean we can't be happy and get on with life. The loss will always be there and at times it is acute anguish."

Mr Monk was four years into a medical degree at Bristol University when he took a year off to help research the effects of post-traumatic stress on former child soldiers in Uganda.

Detective Inspector Stuart Ellis led the British investigation and said Mr Monk had been given a 'yellow-card' by a fitness to practice hearing after an incident not disclosed in court.

Mr Monk had also suffered from anxiety and depression.

Detective Inspector Ellis said Mr Monk's stay in Uganda was cut short after an altercation in a bar, when a man tried to extract money from him.

He decided to leave Uganda and crossed into Kenya, where he stayed on a farm outside the capital, Mombassa.

He met and spent the night with a young woman, but there was an altercation and the authorities became involved.

Two days later, his body was found in his locked room in the farmhouse.

A post-mortem examination in the UK concluded his wrist wounds were self-inflicted and the same could not be ruled out for the fatal neck wound.

The Kenyan police failed to take fingerprints from the knife found next to him or reconcile reports that two knives had been found.

There was no forensic or blood type analysis or examination of whether the room had been secure.

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