Murder charges: Reputable Geraldton businessman Mark Pendlebury charged with murder in Phuket

Pic: Kritsada Mueanhawong

Former Geraldton resident and well regarded business person Mark Hamilton Pendlebury has been charged with murder in Phuket following an altercation outside a nightclub early Wednesday Morning 11/3/15. 

According to Phuketwan Mark Pendlebury was on his way home from a Rotary club meeting. He was with champion Danish surfer, Frederik Aakerlund, 48. 

From local tourism news site Phuketwan:

"Mr Aakerlund, who lost both legs in a military action in 2007, now does his best to inspire disabled children and competes against able-bodied surfers. Two months ago in Patong, he was attacked by thugs in daylight. He has just left hospital."

Mr Pendlebury had planned a boat trip for the handicapped Danish man following his brutal attacked to assist in the man's recovery. 

Regarding the incident, Mr Pendlebury is quoted as saying:

''An Indian and an Australian had been fighting inside and were being thrown out,'' Mr Pendlebury, 59, said from his cell at Kathu Police Station, where officers oversee Patong, the popular nightlife hub on Phuket's west coast. "I pulled out my camera to record what was happening and a security guard tried to stop me doing that. Before I knew it, I was being badly beaten up. I pulled out my knife and waved it back and forth to defend myself. A couple of Indians jumped in and with their help I was able to escape a little distance down the street. If the Indian tourists hadn't rescued me, I reckon I would be dead.'' 

Mr Pendlebury and the security guard were both taken to hospital. A short time later the security guard was pronounced dead. 

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, local business people on the Island are in shock. 

The Phuket Gazette has quoted Col Sutthichai from the local police force as saying: “He confessed to us that he was the one who stabbed Mr Sanya.”

Everything Geraldton spoke with a former employee of Mr Pendlebury. "He had a great reputation in the community," she said. Noting his work as Director of the Geraldton Regional Community Education Centre Association, the former employee mentioned he was well known for all the work he did in Geraldton with many different community organisations. "He had pretty much retired, bought a boat, and became Captain Mark," referring to Mr Pendlebury's work in Phuket running a sailing tour business.

Mr Pendlebury's business Phuket Sail Tours rates very high on Trip advisor (click here) with reviews claiming Mark is quite a character, focused on safety, and having a good time. 

Mr Pendlebury is a former board member of the Mid West Development Commission, and was involved with Rotary. He has also served as President of the Rotary Club of Phuket in Thailand. 

Mark Pendlebury is the father of Sea Shepherd member and environmental activist Glen Pendlebury, who in 2012 boarded a Japanese ship and had to be retrieved by the customs ship Ocean Protector.

Kritsada Mueanhawong from the Phuket Gazette said Mr Pendlebury was being held at Patong Police Station for 48 hours before being brought to the court. reports that Australian consular officials from the embassy in Bangkok are providing assistance to Mark Pendlebury.

Video footage

Security footage of the incident has emerged, which, despite being quite grainy, appears to support Mr Pendlebury's version of events. 

According to PhuketWan (link)

The video shows:

  • Among others passing by, Mr Pendlebury appears on the opposite side of Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road, pausing and looking on as a melee develops outside Taipan.
  • Mr Pendlebury appears to lift a camera or mobile telephone and begin filming or taking photos from the far side of the road.
  • The Australian waits for several tuk-tuks to pass then crosses the road to go closer to the swirling mass of people that appears to be growing outside Taipan.
  • A figure emerges from the melee and seems to confront Mr Pendlebury, who is several steps away from the action.
  • Still on the road surface, Mr Pendlebury backs away and retreats along the line of waiting tuk-tuks, followed by about six figures. 
  • At least one vehicle is double-parked in the road the whole time, with emergency lights flashing. 

Allegations that Mr Pendlebury was drunk at the time of the incident have been rejected by people who were with him earlier in the night at a Patong Rotary meeting according to PhuketWan. 

Phuketwan is calling for those who witnessed the incident and may have footage or images to come forward, and stating that lawyers aim to apply for bail today for Mr Pendlebury.