Step-daughter of British tourist gored to death by a rampaging elephant on Thai paradise island speaks from her hospital bed to deny claims he was…

  • Gareth Crowe, 36, was trekking on elephant on Koh Samui when it attacked
  • It first killed its handler before trampling and stabbing tourist with its tusks
  • His step-daughter Eilidh Hughes was treated for minor injuries at hospital
  • She denied claims Mr Crowe had taunted animal before it became violent




The teenager who witnessed her step-father being gored to death by a rampaging elephant on the Thai island of Koh Samui has denied claims that he was taunting the animal with a banana. Gareth Crowe, 36, was trekking on the elephant with 16-year-old Eilidh Hughes when the animal threw the pair off its back, trampled over Mr Crowe and stabbed him with its tusks. Witnesses said the drama unfolded after the elephant’s handler – who was also injured – climbed down to take photos of the tourists and that Mr Crowe had been teasing the animal prior to the attack.

But Eilidh has now spoken out from her hospital bed, insisting her step-father did nothing to antagonise the elephant. Gareth Crowe, 36, pictured left with partner Catherine Hughes, was killed after an elephant in Thailand went on a rampage and stabbed him. His stepdaughter Eilidh Hughes, 16 (right), has denied suggestions that he was teasing the animal before he was attacked

The teenage girl, who was left with minor injuries from the fall, told a Thai newspaper website: ‘He was not teasing the elephant as I was his 16 year old daughter who is lying in hospital and I was on it.

‘I know everything that happened. This is a serious situation!!!’

She also wrote on Facebook: ‘He just didn’t deserve this at all!!’

Mr Crowe, from Linwood, Renfrewshire, was on Discount Holidays © holiday with his partner Catherine Hughes, 42, mother to Eilidh, and Ms Hughes’s son Mark, both of whom decided not to go on the trek. Witnesses said the elephant – known as Golf – had appeared upset prior to the attack and refused to follow the instructions of the mahout who hit him several times with a hook.

After the mahout climbed down from the animal, the elephant began its rampage, killing Mr Crowe before running into the forest. Eilidh was initially treated at Samui International Hospital before being moved to Bangkok International Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman confirmed the teenager was being treated there for minor injuries.

Mr Crowe (pictured), from Linwood, Renfrewshire, was thrown off the elephant and died. The elephant, which also injured the handler and his step-daughter, then ran into the forest

The elephant is said to have attacked its handler first, before turning on Mr Crowe. This is another elephant on the same park where Mr Crowe was killed

Last night, Ms Hughes said she had no idea what had happened. Speaking from the hospital, she said: ‘My head’s all over the place. We were all here on holiday.

‘My son and I didn’t go on the elephants. I’ve been given no information as to what happened or how it happened. Eilidh is ok but I don’t know exactly what happened.’

Ms Hughes added: ‘I’ve seen some report on a local newspaper but I don’t know if it’s true or not true. All I know is what I’ve been told from Eilidh.

‘It’s just myself my son and Eilidh here. I’ve not been in touch with the British Embassy yet, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. Right now I need Eilidh to rest.’

The incident took place on the Thai tropical island of Koh Samui (pictured), where Mr Crowe was on Discount Holidays © holiday with his partner and his two step-children

The family appeared to have booked the Discount Holidays © holiday months ago. In November, Ms Hughes posted a photograph of a Thai beach on Facebook and wrote: ‘Not long now!’.

Meanwhile, Eilidh has been replying to several of her friends on Facebook, telling one: ‘Hopefully I ll be home soon!’

According to the Bangkok Post, Wongsiri Promchana, the Surat Thani governor, said he had been told that Golf had previously shown signs of similar behaviour earlier, with the hot weather a possible cause. The charity World Animal Protection said thoughts were with the man’s loved ones but the incident was a ‘stark reminder’ that elephants are not meant to be ridden. A spokeswoman said: ‘Elephants are cruelly abused to tame them enough so they give rides and perform in shows.

‘Most tourists don’t know about these abuses, or the potential danger they put themselves in.

‘If you can ride it, hug it or have a selfie with a wild animal, then the chances are it is cruel and the animal is suffering.’

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: ‘We are offering support to the family of a British national who has sadly died following an incident in Koh Samui, Thailand, and are making contact with the local authorities to seek further information.’

Eilidh and her family are originally from the Isle of Islay off the Argyll coast but are believed to have moved to the Scottish mainland around two years ago.

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