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Parents of gap year Briton, 18, who died backpacking in Cambodia accuse authorites of 'cover-up'

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 19/09/2017 Sebastian Mann

© Provided by Independent Print Limited The devastated parents of an 18-year-old Briton who died while backpacking in Cambodia have accused local authorities of trying to cover-up his death because they failed to save his life.

“Adored son” Kit Mallinson was found unconscious on board a bus while travelling the south-east Asian country – but was denied vital hospital treatment because ambulance crew could not find his insurance documents, even though they were in his bag.

His parents, Serena and Guy Mallinson, told an inquest in Bournemouth on Tuesday Mr Mallinson was instead taken to a public hospital which they said lacked important equipment and medication for his pneumonia.

The hearing was also told the British Embassy was not notified until the evening of the next day. The embassy then informed Mr Mallinson's parents, who immediately arranged for him to be transferred to the private Royal Angkor International Hospital where he died six hours later in the early hours of December 14, 2016.

Mrs Mallinson said: "For reasons we do not understand, the embassy was not contacted for two days."

Mr Mallinson said: "When I asked the policeman why, he said he told his boss and he shrugged his shoulders, he couldn't care less."

He added that legal documents sent from the Cambodian authorities were full of inaccuracies and said they were a "cover-up" for their failures.

Fighting back tears, Mrs Mallinson added: "He was the most gorgeous boy, he was just adored by us all, he was kind, had a fantastic sense of humour, he was just a beautiful, beautiful boy.

"He was meant to be having the adventure of a lifetime, he was meant to be home by Christmas, we are all completely devastated.

"He would be so devastated by this because he was very excited about the next stage of his life and he should be at university now.

"I feel he was let down so very, very badly by the Cambodian authorities and it's incredibly hard not to be able to hold them accountable in any way.

"If they had done their job properly Kit would still be alive."

Coroner Rachael Griffin said that Mr Mallinson, from Bridport in Dorset, had complained of a chesty cough in the days before his death.

She said toxicology tests carried out in the UK showed he had taken both codeine and benzodiazepine sleeping pills, probably taken for the long bus journey, from Sihanoukville in the south of the country, to Siem Reap, the home of the famous Angkor Wat ruins.

Taken together, the two drugs could have worsened his chest infection, the coroner said.

Recording a narrative conclusion, Ms Griffin said: "On the balance of probabilities, the delay in his medical treatment was contributory to his death."

She added: "If anything good can come from Kit's death, it's a warning of the use of medication, such as the use of sleeping tablets if they are travelling long distances, as I do not think the potential consequences are fully recognised."

Mr Mallinson had been volunteering for Raleigh International during his gap year. Following his death, his parents set up a JustGiving fundraising page to continue to raise money for the charity. Donate here


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