by Bertha Henson
When the Financial Times first broke the story of Dr Shane Todd’s death, what were the aspects that caught the reader’s eye? That there was a conspiracy to kill an American expatriate caught in the web of espionage? That Singapore institutions and Chinese players were covering up a murder?
Or that nuts, bolts and pulleys were involved?
The “nuts, bolts and pulley’’ allegation is probably is the most damning. The Todd family claimed that Singapore police told them that they were used as part of the “killing apparatus’’ – although why Dr Todd or even his supposed assassins would devise such a complicated system is beyond belief. Nuts and bolts had to be screwed into the bathroom wall so it can be assumed that Dr Todd or his “assassins’’ had a toolkit handy. Anyway, that was what the Todds say the police had told them when they arrived in Singapore. But when they went to their son’s Chinatown flat, they saw no evidence of nuts, bolts or pulleys being used.
The first thing that comes to a reader’s mind would be: How could the police have screwed up on something like this? It smacks of unprofessionalism at the very least, if not outright dishonesty. But on the last day of the coroner’s trial, the policeman involved said he did not mention nuts, bolts and pulleys – nor were they in the police report. Seems Mrs Todd conjured the scenario out of thin air. It’s a pity that the Todds walked out of the inquiry. They claimed that they will not get justice, after a key witness of theirs recanted his statement that Dr Todd had been garrotted. If they had stuck around, we might have got down to the heart of the pulley business.
Now, here’s the strange thing: there was someone who could have sorted this out. An American embassy staffer was present during the supposed nuts, bolts and pulley discussion between the Todds and the police. But Ms Traci Goins “declined to assist’’ with the proceedings, said the state prosecutor.
Over 40 witnesses, some from the US and elsewhere, corroborating reports by the FBI – and an American diplomat based in Singapore “declined to assist’’ in the investigations? So much fuss kicked up by Senators in the US and in the Western media – and an American diplomat based here isn’t going to tell us the truth about the conversation between the Todds and Singapore police?
That’s a real shame! The integrity of the Singapore police has been brought into question and the US embassy owes justice an answer. The next question is whether Ms Goins can be compelled to give evidence. Probably not, since the inquiry is over. Another question, were statements taken from her earlier that could be tendered in court?
What are Singaporeans to make of this? An accusation has been made alleging cover-ups and the key accusers have boycotted the proceedings. One can empathise with the Todds who might be distraught that things weren’t going their way. But what to make of the embassy’s refusal to participate? Could this be because Ms Goins’ testimony might make the Todds – or the Singapore police – look bad? The embassy doesn’t want to be seen as forsaking one of their own – or do not want to antagonise the police here? Which is it?
Come on! Speak up!