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Touching tributes to Skye man who shot himself in Thailand

Liam Colven
Liam Colven

A community was in mourning last night after a young north man shot himself in a Thailand holiday resort.

Staff at a shooting range in Phuket were left horrified when Liam Colven turned a gun on himself after first firing a series of practice rounds.

The 21-year-old died at the scene at Thalang, not far from the main island’s international airport.

One employee at the firing range tried to stop Mr Colven but was unable to prevent the tragedy.

His family, who stay at Portree on the Isle of Skye, were too upset to speak about the tragedy yesterday.

They are receiving assistance from the Foreign Office.

Friends of the young man have paid their own tributes to him online and posted pictures of him.

One called him “a true gentleman” while others spoke of the islanders’ shock.

And the tragedy was mentioned at church services in Portree yesterday.

Local councillor Drew Miller said: “The whole village is pretty shocked about the whole situation.

“A lot of people are upset. It affects a small community like Portree and I’m sure the young boy had lots of friends in the village.

“I am very sorry to hear about this and I really feel terrible for the parents. The whole community will be suffering with them.

“In church this morning the minister, Donnie MacDonald at the Free Church, mentioned that we were thinking of the families who are in mourning.”

Mr Colven took a taxi to the shooting range from a hotel in Band Tao on Phuket’s west coast.

Police are investigating the death and are reviewing CCTV footage from the range.

Mr Colven bought six bullets at the range and fired them, before asking for another three and then shooting himself.

Taxi driver Pauseud Pasaman said Mr Colven was behaving “normally” on the way to Thalang on Saturday afternoon.

He said the young man seemed to be in “good spirits” and the pair even shared a toffee.

Mr Pasaman, 41, said: “He was happy. He did not seem like the kind of man who was about to shoot himself. He was normal. Not drunk.”

Witnesses in Phuket had claimed the former hotel worker was involved in an argument with a friend earlier in the day.

But Mr Pasaman said the pair appeared to be having a calm conversation.

He said: “They talked for around half an hour. Not fighting, just talking.

“They looked like they knew each other.”

Mr Pasaman said that when he got into his taxi he told him: “I want to shoot.”

A Thai police officer said Mr Colven had not been staying in the Ban Tao area and that the young man’s belongings had been collected by officers and taken to a Thalang police station.

He added that Mr Colven had been at the Sunkiss hotel to “visit a friend”.

Among those paying tribute to him yesterday was Scott Thompson, who said: “Truly one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to.”

Jenny Mackenzie said: “RIP one of the kindest men I knew. A former work colleague and mate, you will forever be in my thoughts.”

Dominic Collins said: “Things will never be the same but I’ll always love you dude. Never forgotten.”

Friend Angie Lamont said: “I can’t believe you have left us in such a heartbreaking way. A true gentleman, rest in peace, you beautiful boy.”

Michelle Allan said: “A beautiful person inside and out. You, sir, broke the mould. Sleep tight.”

Ruairidh Macleod said: “My thoughts are with the family. Miss you bud, gone but you will live on in our memories.”

And Alex Macleod said: “There are no more words to describe the loss and emotions of the people of Skye that has not already been said.

“However, I consider myself lucky to be a part of a small community that I know will support the family in the days, weeks and years to come.

“This wonderful community will also share in the loss and help each other to overcome it.”

Last night a Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Thailand.

“We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.”

In October 2013, Mr Colven, who was studying in Falkirk at the time, was reported missing by his family.

He had been due to visit a relative in Glasgow before catching the bus home to Skye.

His family became concerned about him and contacted the police but he later got in touch with them.

Anyone contemplating suicide or self-harm can contact The Samaritans on 08457 909090 or Breathing Space on 0800 838587.