The coroner ruled that it was suicide from the suicide signs e.g. history of suicide sites visited and depression, signs of hanging. The US embassy in Singapore did not dispute the findings, saying that “The inquiry into Dr Todd’s death was comprehensive, fair and transparent.”
The Todds and their supporters would no doubt stick to the assassination conspiracy theory – to backtrack now would be a loss of face and also make them lose something to hold on to in life as a means to cope. Mary Todd is a pastor and to accept that her son committed suicide was unthinkable. By indulging in a natural sense of denial over the death of their son and expose the supposed inter-government murder conspiracy, the Todds now have a mission in life. The Todds might even deepen the conspiracy later on that maybe their factions within their own US government silenced him as Shane was working for the PRC and was heading back to the US as spy. The conspiracy theory content is surely enough for a telemovie or book.
One behaviour that made the Todds look less convincing was of their own doing. The Montana couple had the opportunity to grill the police and medical consultants in court but they chose to storm out of the proceedings before their turn came instead. They explained that it was because they had enough of the court’s sham. Instead I believe that the evidence for suicide was overwhelming and they were afraid of being caught out in court for the untruths made and who urged them to do it e.g. the hard drive they said they found which was in fact returned to them by the police.
Financial Times insisted that they stand by their reporting as they understandably would as no respected international institution would back down over such an incident when reputation is at stake, and they have the opportunity to spin it as “Singapore government takes on the Western free press” if Shanmugam is dim enough to sue FT. However, whether esteemed FT would stand by the now radically less esteemed journalist Raymond Bonner who started the whole Todd conspiracy drama, staged from the time he wrote Death in Singapore in February this year, is a big question mark.
8 July 2013 Last updated at 06:23 GMT
Singapore coroner rules Shane Todd death suicide
A US engineer found hanged in his Singapore apartment killed himself, a Singapore coroner has ruled.
Shane Todd, 31, who had been working for a government research body, was found dead at his home in June 2012.
His death was registered as suicide, but his parents alleged he was killed over a project related to sensitive technology.
The coroner ruled that “there was no foul play”. The US has described the inquiry as “fair and transparent”.
Mr Todd died of “asphyxia due to hanging”, the inquest concluded.
The verdict in the case – which attracted considerable attention after Mr Todd’s parents contested police findings and campaigned for an investigation – is final and cannot be appealed against.
Mr Todd had just left a job at a state-owned research organisation, Singapore Institute of Microelectronics (IME), at the time of his death.
His parents alleged he was working on a project linked to China’s telecoms giant, Huawei, involving sensitive semiconductor technology, and that his death was the result of foul play linked to the project.
Both Mr Todd’s former employer and Huawei – last year named a potential national security threat by a US Congressional committee because of fears over links to China’s government and military – rejected this, saying they had been involved in preliminary talks on a project that did not get off the ground.
The court also said that the project had not materialised.
“Even if it did, which I did not find, the listed specifications show it would not have violated general export control laws, nor could it have been used for military applications,” District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt said.
“The deceased was not in possession of confidential and valuable classified information in the course of his employment at the IME,” he added.
Instead the coroner found that the evidence showed “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Mr Todd had killed himself.
Mr Todd, who had suffered from depression in the past, had been described by witnesses as being under considerable stress in the weeks leading up to his death.
The coroner’s inquiry, which convened in May, heard that in the days before he was found dead analysis of his computer showed he had visited a number of websites on suicide.
The Todd family’s key witness, a deputy medical examiner from Missouri in the US, also faced stringent questioning during the inquiry that saw him revise his position that Shane Todd could have been garrotted.
He maintained that the 31-year-old was probably killed – putting him at odds with four other experts, two Singaporean and two from the US, who concluded suicide was most likely cause of death.
In a statement, the US embassy said: “The inquiry into Dr Todd’s death was comprehensive, fair and transparent.”
His family “was given the opportunity to participate in the hearing and was represented by experienced Singapore legal counsel”, the statement added.
Mr Todd’s parents withdrew their support for the Singapore probe in May, saying they had no confidence in the investigation. They were not present in court for the verdict.
“It was apparent that the state was only interested in proving suicide and that was why we left,” Rick Todd, Shane Todd’s father, told AP news agency last week.
“They never interviewed us and it became obvious from the court that they never investigated the possibility of murder.”
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