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Family angered over images of Amelia Bambridge’s body

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Officers stand guard as an autopsy is carried out on Amelia Bambridge. KT/Chor Sokunthea

In the wake of police ruling the death of Amelia Bambridge as accidental drowning, her family has expressed anger over gruesome images of her body floating in the sea that were circulated on social media.

The 21-year-old British tourist went missing on October 24 at about 3am after she partied on Koh Rong island in Preah Sihanouk province.

Her body was discovered on Thursday floating near the maritime border of Cambodia-Thailand, some 80 kilometres from where she was last seen. On Friday, police ruled out foul play as the cause of her death following an autopsy.

Facebook and Instagram users reportedly uploaded the images moments after the discovery of Ms Bambridge’s body. It is unclear who leaked the images.

Harry Bambridge, Ms Bambrige’s brother, reportedly requested Instagram to take down the images.

Some of the images circulated on Facebook were reportedly removed yesterday, though others were still available online.

British Member of Parliament Tom Watson told The Daily Mirror in the UK that: “This is completely disgraceful from Instagram”.

“Amelia’s family should have their privacy and wishes respected. Instagram’s standards are clearly morally redundant if they don’t rule these posts in breach of guidelines,” Mr Watson said. “This proves how urgently we need a tech regulator to hold companies accountable for decisions like this.”

The Interior Ministry on Friday said Ms Bambridge died by accidental drowning after an autopsy was conducted on her body.

Colonel Sut Sam Un, chief of the Interior Ministry’s technical and science unit, said no foul play was suspected after an autopsy was performed.

“Results have shown that Ms Bambridge, whose body was floating face up in the open sea near the Thai-Cambodia maritime boundary, some 80 kilometres from Koh Rong, is consistent with drowning,” Col Sam Un said. “There was no evidence to show there was any other cause besides drowning.”

“There are many questions to be answered as to how she drowned and whether she entered the sea near where her backpack and personal items, including phone, were found,” he added.

Col Sam Un noted Ms Bambridge’s body has been released to her family who will send her home to Worthing, West Sussex.

Muong Sothea, director of the technical and science department, declined to comment yesterday.

The autopsy was conducted by the ministry’s technical and science department with cooperation from medical experts of the Child Protection Unit, British embassy officials, provincial court prosecutor and experts from the provincial referral hospital.

The discovery of Ms Bambridge’s body concluded a week-long search by security personnel and relatives who flew in from overseas.

Sharon Schultes, Ms Bambridge’s sister, last week on Facebook that Ms Bambridge’s body will be returned home.

“It breaks my heart to let all my close family and friends know the horrendous outcome that we didn’t want,” Ms Schultes said. “Now we have to get our Amelia back home to England so we can lay her beautiful soul to rest and to remember the wonderful life she lived.”

She noted a fundraiser has been set up to help bring her sister home.

“We may have found our Amelia, but not how we had hoped,” Ms Schultes said, noting that getting Ms Bambridge and the rest of her family home is expensive.

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