Bereavement due to traumatic death

Matthew - Interview 26

Age at interview: 48

Brief outline: Matthew's brother, Timothy, was killed in the Bali bombing in 2002. He died instantly. His death was a terrible shock to the family. His body was brought back to the UK. Matthew is proud of the beautiful memorial that stands in London for those who died.

Background: Matthew is a Chartered Surveyor. He is married and has 4 children. Ethnic background/nationality: White British

Audio & video

In 2002 Matthew’s brother, Timothy, was killed when a bomb exploded outside a nightclub in Bali. The bomb killed 202 people. Matthew heard about the bombing on the BBC news but did not know that his brother was involved. Timothy’s fiancé phoned to say that he was missing, so Matthew phoned the foreign office, but could not get any more information.
Matthew and his parents flew to Bali to look for Timothy. Matthew looked in hospitals and mortuaries but couldn’t find him. After about 10 days away Matthew and his parents returned home. They still hoped that Timothy might was alive, but soon afterwards they had a phone call from the Foreign Office telling them that Timothy was dead, having been identified by his dental records. A police officer also called at the family home to tell them what had happened. She described Timothy’s injuries. He had died in the bomb blast.
Timothy’s body was taken to Singapore. Matthew went to Singapore to accompany him home to Gatwick. The Foreign Office paid for the repatriation. Timothy’s body was then taken to a mortuary close to Gatwick, so that the local coroner could release Timothy’s body for his funeral.
After the funeral Timothy’s ashes were scattered in a rural area, near to others who had died in the Bali bombing. The families of those who died planted trees, and placed a plaque and a bench in the area in memory of those who had died.
Matthew, and a small group of others who had lost relatives in the Bali bomb, spent almost two years negotiating with the government and with other groups for permission to place a memorial on Horse Guards Road between the Foreign Office and the Treasury.
The memorial was commissioned by the families of the victims of the terrorist bombings and it was designed and made by Garry Breeze, lettering sculptor. The beautiful memorial, made of granite and Portland limestone, was opened by HRH Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
The inquest was held in London. All the deaths were dealt with at the same time. The coroner conducted proceedings in a very sympathetic and sensitive manner. Each family was able to say something about the person they had lost.
Looking back, Matthew believes that the Foreign Office was unprepared for a major disaster on foreign soil, but did its best under the circumstances, and is now better prepared for another similar disaster.
Various members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a violent Islamist group, were convicted in relation to the bombings. In 2008 three Indonesian men were executed for their part in the bombings. Some of the key suspects have not been caught. Matthew does not believe in capital punishment and regrets that more blood has been spilt.
Matthew’s family has been devastated by Timothy’s death, but they have dealt with the situation quietly, with great fortitude. Matthew has coped without professional counselling. He takes comfort in the fact that Timothy died instantly, without prolonged suffering, and in a beautiful place.
Matthew was interviewed in January 2009.


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