Irish Student Dies: Suspected of Breaking Into Chiang Mai Shopping Mall Thai Police Say

Stephen Clifford dies in Chiang Mai


Even though I’m British, I have to say I don’t understand many Brits who travel abroad, not when drinking so much alcohol they barely know what they’re doing is more important than their own personal safety. That’s why, when I read yet another story of a British tourist falling to their death while drunk, this time a Northern Ireland student in the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, even though I think it’s sad, I still have to ask “Why do so many British tourists choose excessive alcohol consumption over personal safety?” It makes no sense.

The latest death of a British tourist in Thailand, that of 21-year-old Northern Ireland student Stephen Clifford, mirrors the similar deaths we hear about in Spain every year. Young Britons traveling abroad and, while out at a local bar, seemingly unable to control their alcohol consumption.

Eventually, so drunk, they totter onto balconies or roofs and, minutes later, plummet to their death.

This is what happened to 21-year-old Northern Ireland student Stephen Clifford in Chiang Mai this week who Thai police say died after what looked like trying to break into the closed Kad Suan Kaew Chiang Mai shopping mall by climbing on the roof. Something he probably would not have done if he had been sober.

No-one seems to know why Stephen Clifford was trying to break into the shopping mall, except that he was seen in an argument with a female friend at 5am outside a Chiang Mai bar and then filmed on CCTV in another argument with a western man just over an hour later.

One of the last times Stephen Clifford was seen alive was some minutes after this when a Thai security guard saw him with another man standing outside the mall. Both men appeared to be drunk, he told police.

Minutes later, it appears, Stephen Clifford climbed over a fence surrounding the Chiang Mai mall and up onto a balcony where he then attempted to jump onto the roof of a shopping mall electrical building. The roof, however, gave way and Clifford fell through it and onto electrical equipment below. He died instantly.

Yes, another young British life wasted all because of someone being incapable of controlling their alcohol consumption. And, more news stories around the world “paying tribute to Stephen Clifford”, a man who died while drunk and doing something illegal in a foreign country. You have to wonder at the insanity.

All I can say in response to Stephen Clifford’s death and to the deaths of the other British tourists falling or jumping from balconies and roofs while on holidays abroad, maybe it’s about time more was done in the UK when it comes to warning British tourists about excessive drinking while abroad?

After all, you’d think a story like the death of Stephen Clifford in Chiang Mai would stop another British tourist from making the same mistake but, no, it probably won’t.

In Thailand, in Spain, in Greece, in various countries around the planet, a number of British tourists will die again this year as being one of the world’s drunks seems to be more important than monitoring their alcohol consumption and, oh yes, behaving respectably in other people’s countries.

Sad, yes, it’s sad every time a young life is lost. But do I have sympathy for their behavior. No, I really don’t.