Shane Todd 'committed suicide': State Coroner

American researcher Shane Todd had committed suicide, a Singapore court has found.

State Coroner Chay Yuen Fatt, delivering his finding on the case on Monday morning, said the physical evidence pointed to the 31-year-old's death as a suicide as there was no foul play and no medical basis to find that it was a homicide.

"After considering all the evidence before me, I was also satisfied that there was no foul play involved in the deceased's death," he said in a 145-page decision.

The judge also said there was also no reason to doubt the authenticity of a suicide note found on Dr Todd's laptop at the scene of death, and there was also no evidence to suggest that the researcher had been involved with any sensitive research as part of his work at the Singapore Institute of Microelectronics (IME).

"The deceased was not in possession of confidential and valuable classified information in course of his employment at the IME," he added.

Dr Todd was found hanged in his apartment near Chinatown on June 24 last year, shortly after he quit IME, part of the national Agency for Science, Technology and Research. His parents had alleged that he had been murdered over his work at IME, which they said had links to Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecommunications giant suspected of espionage by the US government.

Senior State Counsel Tai Wei Shyong, however, had earlier described the allegations of murder as "entirely misplaced and unfounded", saying there was no evidence of foul play, possible suspect or even credible motive for such an act. Instead, there was "overwhelming evidence pointing inexorably towards suicide".

The coroner's ruling cannot be appealed, but the public prosecutor may direct the coroner to reopen the inquiry if further investigations are necessary - for example, if there is significant new evidence.

Dr Todd's family were not in court on Monday morning but their lawyers and representatives from the US embassy were present.

Lawyers Ms Gloria James-Civetta and Foo Cheow Ming told The Straits Times that the Todds have instructed her to send a copy of the State Coroner's findings to them in the US. They will also be making arrangements for Dr Todd's belongings to be returned.