UNUSUAL WAYS OF SHUFFLING OFF THIS MORTAL COIL
Daniel Brandon, 31, died from asphyxiation on 25 August at his home in the Hampshire village of Church Crookham. He is thought to be the first person in Britain to be killed by a python. His mother Babs discovered him unconscious in his bedroom on the night of his death and later found a female 8ft (2.4m) African rock python named Tiny out of her vivarium and coiled under a cabinet near his body. She called paramedics, but her son could not be saved. Coroner Andrew Bradley recorded a verdict of misadventure, making it clear he did not believe Tiny had been aggressive towards her owner, but had probably been coiling around him in an affectionate way. He did not believe she had wrapped around Brandon for warmth – as is thought to have happened when a python killed two boys in Canada in 2013 [ FT308:20]. As well as Tiny, Brandon’s bedroom was home to another nine snakes and 12 tarantulas. He had kept snakes for 16 years and the python was “his baby”. She used to be small enough to fit in his hand. BBC News, 24 Jan; Guardian, D.Mail, 25 Jan 2018.
Former zoo worker Arslan Valeev, 31, from St Petersburg let his Black Mamba snake bite him and then live-streamed his suicide. He begged fans of his animal YouTube channel to ask his ex-wife Katya Pyatyzhkin to visit him as his breathing quickened and his eyes rolled. A viewer called an ambulance and Valeev was taken to hospital, but the Russian blogger could not be saved. Metro, D.Star, 27 Sept 2017.
Yuthapong, 30, an engineer from Saraburi in Indonesia, was found dead under a slab of concrete next to a deserted beach restaurant. He was dressed in a purple shirt and no trousers, with a bed sheet nearby. Police suggested that he had gone to the beach and dozed off only to be hit by debris brought in by waves; but they admitted they were baffled by his missing trousers, which were nowhere to be found. There was no sign of a struggle or apparent injuries to the body. Locals said the area was haunted by a particularly nasty ghost that clearly enticed the man to his death. Yuthapong was from out of town and would have been unaware of the risk. thaivisa.com, 8 Dec 2017.
Ivo Poppe, 61 – suspected of killing at least 10 people by injecting air into their blood, causing a fatal embolism – has gone on trial in Belgium. The offences took place at a clinic in Menen, where he worked as a nurse – and later, after being ordained, in a pastoral role. Belgian newspapers have dubbed him the “deacon of death”. He was arrested in 2014 after telling his psychiatrist that he had “euthanised” dozens of elderly patients, but subsequently denied the charges against him. Among his alleged victims are several relatives: two great-uncles, his father-in-law, and his mother, who died in 2011. Prosecutors say at least 50 deaths are suspicious. BBC News, 22 Jan 2018.
Sergei Terekhov, 64, hunting with his brother in a remote part of the Saratov region on the banks of the Volga in southwestern Russia, was shot dead by one of his own dogs. He let his two Estonian hounds out of the boot of his Lada car. According to local news website Region 64, “the paw of one of the animals got on the trigger of the hunting rifle, the butt of which was on the ground, and the barrel was aimed at the man’s stomach.” His brother drove him to hospital, where he died of his injuries. Independent (online), 23
Jan 2018. We have reported many cases of hunters shot by their faithful hounds – see FT3:3, 25:14, 52:22, 63:33-34, 289:8.
A Russian man died after he pulled the pin out of a hand grenade and posted photographs of himself holding it. Alexander ‘Sasha’ Chechik was killed instantly in the incident in the city of Labinsk in southwest Russia. He had sent a text to a friend, including a picture of the grenade in his hand with the pin pulled from the device lying nearby. Independent, 28 Nov 2017.
A Russian industrial climber was found dead, dangling from the roof of a snowcovered student dormitory. There are no suggestions 26-year-old daredevil Yevgeny Tikhonov took his own life. Icicles were hanging from his feet and his head was covered with snow. The macabre sight 40ft (12m) above the ground was spotted by a young girl in Anzhero-Sudzhensk, a town 65 miles (105km) north of the Siberian city of Kemerovo. His body appeared to have been dangling from the building for a long period, but local reports suggested he died only two hours before he was spotted. Temperatures had plunged to minus 27˚C at night in the hours before the tragedy. Tikhonov was a well-known and experienced industrial climber, who had worked repairing many tall buildings. D.Mail (online), 16 Jan 2018.