Probe begins into deaths of British rugby players
Posted on May 15th, 2018

Courtesy Gulf Times

 A second visiting English amateur rugby player has died in a Sri Lankan hospital after visiting a night club and police are now investigating the circumstances, a spokesman said yesterday.
Thomas Howard, 25, and Tom Baty, 26, developed breathing difficulties on Sunday morning after returning from the club in Colombo and were rushed to the main state-run hospital in the capital.
Howard died shortly after admission, police said. Baty was transferred to the intensive care unit of a private hospital where he died yesterday, a police
statement said.
An autopsy on Howard has revealed that he did not die due to any external injuries or any illness,” said police spokesman Ruwan
Gunasekera.
The spokesman added that a judicial medical officer had given an open verdict” on the deaths and further forensic tests are being carried out”.
Gunasekera said the two men from Durham City rugby club in the northeast of England had played a friendly against the local Ceylonese Rugby and Football Club on Saturday.
After the match, the team visited a night club and returned to their hotel in small groups early Sunday, police said.
We don’t have a cause of death yet and investigations are ongoing,” Gunasekera said.
The British high commission (embassy) said it was supporting the families of the two men and was in contact with local
authorities.
Durham City, in a message posted on its website, said the Howard and Baty families have requested that their right to
privacy is respected”.
The team arrived in Sri Lanka on May 9 and began the tour with a game against Ceylonese Rugby and Football Club (CR & FC) in Colombo.
According to police in Sri Lanka, some British players went to Colombo’s Cleopatra nightclub after the match and returned to their hotel in the early hours of Sunday.
The two players complained of breathing difficulties to the hotel management at about 10 on Sunday and were taken to Nawaloka Hospital.
Police are examining CCTV from the nightclub in an effort to establish the players’
movements.
Tributes to the pair from other rugby clubs across the UK have been made on social media.

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