Shane Todd case: State Coroner to deliver finding on US researcher's death today

The State Coroner is set to deliver his finding on the death of American researcher Shane Todd this Monday morning, following an extended inquiry that ended last month.

Dr Todd was found hanged in his apartment near Chinatown on June 24 last year, shortly after he quit the Singapore Institute of Microelectronics (IME), part of the national Agency for Science, Technology and Research. He was 31. He had apparently bought a plane ticket to return to the United States in the following week.

His parents had alleged he was murdered over his work at IME, which they said had links to Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecoms giant suspected of espionage by the US government.

Senior State Counsel Tai Wei Shyong, however, 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".

Over 10 days in May, 44 witnesses testified in court to the physical evidence at the scene, on Dr Todd's body, his research at the IME and his state of mind in the months before his death. They included Dr Todd's girlfriend Shirley Sarmiento, his IME supervisor Patrick Lo, his friends and colleagues as well as police officers.

Dr Edward Adelistein - the Todd family's medical expert who had initially found that Dr Todd was murdered by garroting - changed his assessment when he gave evidence by videolink and said the researcher could have been killed by a stun gun or an arm-lock.

He, however, did not offer any evidence to support his claims, and his findings was dismissed by two other American medical experts engaged by the state.

Dr Todd's family had stormed out of the court on May 21, quit the inquiry and returned to the US after State Coroner Chay Yuen Fatt denied their request to delay a witness' testimony by a day. They were not see on Monday morning as the court session got underway but lawyers who represented them during the inquiry were attending.

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