Shane Todd, a U.S. research engineer found hanged in his Singapore apartment, suffered from depression without appearing suicidal about two months before he died, according to a psychiatrist who treated him.
“He had a lot of worrying thoughts that he could not control,” Nelson Lee, the psychiatrist who saw Todd in April 2012, told a coroner’s inquest at the Singapore subordinate court yesterday. “He did not feel that life had no meaning.”
Todd had “moderate severity” major depressive disorder and was prescribed anti-depressant pills, Lee said. The American had complained about his struggles with work stress, hand tremors and palpitations, the psychiatrist said.
Singapore opened the inquiry after the Todd family said their son was murdered, disputing an initial police finding that he committed suicide by hanging. The Asian city’s government lawyers have requested the family provide evidence and information to support their hypothesis on Todd’s death.
Todd, 31 when he died in June, visited suicide-related websites days before he was found hanging from a door in his apartment, Tai Wei Shyong, a senior state counsel, said May 13. A two-page suicide letter to family and friends was also found on Todd’s laptop.
Todd was making preparations to return to the U.S., including selling some of his possessions, paying off debt and packing, Raymond Lam, a lawyer for the Todd family, said in court yesterday. He was also planning a holiday and received a job offer days before he was found dead, Lam said, suggesting these were signs that Todd wasn’t suicidal.
Todd’s father Rick has said his son’s death may have been tied to his work at the Singapore’s Institute of Microelectronics and connected to transfers of technology to China.
The Coroner’s Inquiry is Shane Truman Todd. CI002014 of 2012. Singapore Subordinate Courts.
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