SA man strangled in Phuket

2012-02-13 09:13

Pietermaritzburg - A KwaZulu-Natal family’s anxious search for news of their missing son turned to grief at the weekend when Thai authorities told them his body had been found.

It was discovered near a deserted beach on Phuket island.

Merneen and Keith Robson became concerned when Mark, 27, failed to catch a flight to Taipei earlier this month.

Although neither the Thai authorities nor the South African international relations department were able to positively confirm the news of Mark’s death on Sunday, the Witness has learnt from Jessica Kretzmann, a close friend of Mark's, that his family has been left “shocked and utterly devastated” by the news.

She added: “Mark and I dated for four years and we remained close friends. He was a very special person, very loyal, charming, and he had an incredible sense of humour.”

'Absolutely devastated'

And in a moving tribute on her Facebook page, Mark’s mother, Merneen, wrote: “We are absolutely devastated to have lost our very special boy.”

Asked why he had left South Africa to take up a post teaching English in Taipei, Kretzmann said simply: “He wanted to travel and to broaden his horizons.” He had been able to share that passion with his parents, who, shortly before his death, spent a few days with him in Thailand in January.

Kretzmann said Mark’s parents and his sisters, Julie and Cathy, were grateful to everyone who had helped with the search for Mark. They also asked people to respect their privacy at this time and to remember Mark as the very special person that he was.

Mark was due to begin teaching English in Taipei, but did not board the flight from Thailand as expected.

His parents got in touch with Phuket Tourist Police Foreign Volunteers group leader, Frank Tomenson, via e-mail. Tomenson sent a new photo of Mark - taken while he was on holiday in Thailand - to all the media outlets in the area, asking for information.

The Phuket Gazette news editor noted the resemblance between Mark and images of a body that had been recovered at Freedom Beach in January.


Police found the dead man, who had been strangled and was in a seated position, on January 25, just two days after Mark last used an ATM machine.

The authorities are still investigating the case. Believing the two cases might be linked, the newspaper got in touch with Tomenson, supplied him with the images they had and asked if the police had investigated whether the body was that of Mark Robson.

Tomenson in turn contacted Mark’s parents, who live in Gillitts, telling them that a body had been found and that it matched the description of their son.

“Mr Tomenson was reluctant to forward the photos, but finally sent a single image at the family’s request. The family now believe the previously unidentified body is that of their son,” the Phuket Gazette reported.

Mark Robson matriculated at Hilton College in 2002 and completed degrees in marketing and law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus. He later worked at Unilever, remaining with the company until September last year.

  • Darryn - 2012-02-13 09:27

    I was Mark's work collegue at Unilever, we both left for overseas at the same time and helped each other with leaving work. Had a few good drinks and laughs with him at work too. Such a brilliant and friendly guy. You will be missed, this is terrible news. Condolences to the Robson family.

      Janice - 2012-02-13 09:54

      If only we could find the cowards who give thumbs down!!!

      procold2 - 2012-02-13 10:48

      janice just trolls looking for attention,condolences to the family

  • Shanelle - 2012-02-13 09:31

    Condolences to the family. I truly hope they find the perpetrators and justice is served.

  • SGL - 2012-02-13 09:37

    RIP. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. Hope they find the person/s who did this.

  • charmaine.rowlands - 2012-02-13 09:40

    Sincere condolences to the family and friends. May he rest in peace

  • Amelia - 2012-02-13 09:43

    This is so sad, RIP Mark

  • Stan - 2012-02-13 09:47

    sad indeed

  • jorg.gurtler - 2012-02-13 09:48

    I hope they find the son of a bitch...

  • Dmitri - 2012-02-13 09:51

    RIP Mark. Just a question here: Why are some folks giving thumbs down when people post condolences? It will not surprise me if I get thumbs down for this post as well!!!

      Ian - 2012-02-13 09:55

      i guess some people are just born sick

      Mfudzi - 2012-02-13 10:16

      dimitri, do not waste precious time focusing on the negative. from now on , look around you and get you attention off all negative things and stop even associating with negative minded people, music and even books. listen more to pastor angus buchan. this could mean a total shift for the better in your future and that of everyone around you, including me.

      Ingrid - 2012-02-13 12:13

      Mfudzi, what???????????? Is Angus going to pray him back to life? Yes, I am a Christian, but the attempt you made here, makes no sense. Have you ever lost a child through murder???

      Samantha - 2012-02-13 12:29

      Yeah right on mfudzi!!!!

  • claire.ranwell - 2012-02-13 09:51

    so sad :(

  • Janice - 2012-02-13 09:52

    Tragic, terribly sad!

  • Riku - 2012-02-13 09:55

    Wow sad to hear about that and sad for the families. Phuket is such a tourist friendly place. The peopel go out of their way for you.

  • Thoka - 2012-02-13 10:03

    What a beautiful Island, this is bad for their economy since they rely on tourism for survival. thinking was planning to the again.eishhhhh!!! RIP my brother

  • Shakes - 2012-02-13 10:04

    too sad

  • Jayne - 2012-02-13 10:58

    To Julie and Cath..... can't even imagine what you are going through right now..... so sorry

  • Kusleg - 2012-02-13 11:48 you ply your trade in the dark alleys......stupid thug..!, let me meet you there myself you fool. MHSRIP to Mark...wish you could have stayed home.

  • les.cunningham1 - 2012-02-13 12:04

    All the thumbs down ppl. in in this article are complete and utter trolls. May you RIP Mark, and condolences to the family and friends.

  • Ingrid - 2012-02-13 12:11

    Condolences to Mark's family. May he rest in peace. This is a terrible thing that happened :-(

  • janine.beckleysetzkorn - 2012-02-13 12:15

    I also knew Mark in passing through the Unilever building. He was a lovely guy, with a gentle persona. Definitely did not deserve this! I am truly sad for him and the family. Condolence to all!

  • Alison - 2012-02-13 12:26

    awful and very sad ending to a young life, my sincere condolences to his family, I hope they find closure. Awfully tragic.

  • Jenine - 2012-02-13 12:57

    So tragic - sincere condolences to the Robson family and friends. May you Rest In Peace Mark.

  • Barefoot - 2012-02-13 17:11

    "savages!" . . .anyone?

  • pages:
  • 1