Aussie tourist scarred for life in Phuket now seeking compensation
A tourist was left looking like Batman baddie the Joker after his cheek was slashed wide open in a horrific Samurai sword attack.
Jamie Shackleton was scarred for life and still suffers terrifying flashbacks after his face was maimed by a 24-inch samurai sword in a botched robbery attempt in Phuket, Thailand, in 2009, aged 21.
The 28-year-old, from Perth, Australia, needed a five-hour operation and 48 stitches to close the huge six-inch gash which ran across his left cheek and exposed the inside of his mouth.
Catering supervisor Jamie had no travel insurance and so was forced to fork out nearly £6,000 for private healthcare but now plans to seek compensation from the Thai government.
Jamie, who was running his own internet café in Phuket at the time of the attack, said: “When I was attacked my face was slashed open so wide I looked like the Joker from Batman – that’s exactly how it was.
“The blade sliced through my cheek opening up a 6cm gap. The slash was only 1cm from my lip and only 3cm from my nostril.
“When I got to hospital doctors had to keep changing the patch on my face every three minutes because I was losing too much blood.
“I was afraid to look at my face after the attack and avoided mirrors for seven days because I was scared of what I would see.
“When I first saw myself after a week it was a big shock – I couldn’t believe I’d survived.
“Police have never found the person who assaulted me. After the incident I got nightmares every day for an entire year. Even now whenever someone asks me about it I get flashbacks.
“I can’t deal with knives – at first when I saw them I’d freak out and even now I still feel very uneasy.
“My four front teeth had to be removed because the damage was so severe.”
Jamie was returning home from Phuket Old Town by motorbike with a friend at 7.30pm on February 1, 2009 when he claims two men on another bike forced them to stop in Suan Luang Park.
The 28-year-old said the man pulled out a huge 25-inch samurai sword from under his t-shirt and began choking his friend before demanding money from the pair.
But Jamie alleges that as he reached into one of his pockets to retrieve cash the man slashed him across the face with the knife, possibly in the mistaken belief he was reaching for a weapon.
The 28-year-old’s mouth was slashed open six inches from left corner of his mouth and across his left cheek, exposing the inside of his mouth, and he lost four teeth and suffered a bruised cheekbone.
Jamie ran for help and was rushed to a nearby public hospital but claims he was told he would have to wait 12 hours for an operation and so was transferred to a private hospital by ambulance.
He spent five nights in hospital, undergoing a five-hour operation and needing 48 stitches, and spent £5,900 of his savings on the treatment as he had no health insurance.
Jamie refused to look in the mirror for seven days after the horrific attack so he wouldn’t go into shock and still has a large scar.
Phuket Police reportedly offered a reward of 50,000 Thai Baht (£1,154) to catch his attacker but the investigation was closed in 2012 due to lack of evidence.
Jamie, who stayed in Thailand for another five years after the incident before returning to Australia in 2014, said: “On our way home I saw a man following us on a bike – he began to strangle my friend and his eyes were bloodshot, he was really angry.
“He yelled out in Thai ‘give me all of your money’ so I reached into my pocket to get some and that’s when he slashed me.
“It was all over in a flash and didn’t hurt at the time, probably because I was in shock – I guess it was the adrenaline.
“I rushed to a nearby construction site for help and was taken to a public hospital but they told me I would have to wait 12 hours for an ambulance.
“I told them if I waited that long I’d probably die so I then made the decision to go to a private hospital via ambulance.
“It didn’t really put me off wanting to live in Thailand, but I came back to be closer to family. Life in Thailand is beautiful but Australia is where I call home.”
Jamie now plans to seek compensation from the Thai Government under the 2001 Compensation and Expenses for Injured Persons and the Accused Act, which provides financial compensation to victims who suffer injuries resulting from criminal offences.
In 2012 the Australian Embassy told the 28-year-old they were closing the case due to the police investigation being suspended.
In a letter, a representative from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told him: “The Australian Embassy in Bangkok has contacted the case investigation officer seeking an update on their investigation to locate the two males who assaulted you in February 2009, which resulted in serious facial injuries.
“According to the police the investigation into the matter has been suspended. The police further advised that should further evidence come to light, the case would be reactivated.
“As the Thai Police suspended the investigation, we will close the case. However should the Thai police reopen the case we will let you know at that time.”
Earlier this month, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who run the Australian Embassy in Thailand, told Jamie there had been no update. –