A SCAMMER posed as a coroner to demand a grieving mum hand over thousands of pounds to get her son's remains back after he died in a motorbike crash in Vietnam.
Debsy Clayton was bombarded by WhatsApp messages for demands to hand over £10,000 in order to bring her son’s body home to Leicestershire.
Denver Barfield, 24, from Beaumont Leys, Leicester, died after his motorcycle crashed into a power pole in Hoi An, Vietnam.
His friend Beth Thompson, from Essex, who was on the bike with him, also died in the crash which occurred at around 3.40am on May 16.
Just hours after discovering her son had died Debsy says she was contacted by someone claiming to be a coroner who demanded the money so his body could be flown up.
The person claimed that if the money was not paid, Denver’s remains would be cremated.
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As well as the demands for money, the texts sent to her also included graphic images of her son’s and Beth’s bodies.
Cops from Leicestershire Police have now told her that someone in Vietnam had hacked into a system, obtained Denver’s details before harassing Debsy for the money.
Debsy told the Leicester Mercury: "The man who claimed to be the coroner was messaging me through the night. He said they did an autopsy on Denver's body and they were ready for the next steps – that they needed payment.
"I read all the messages and tried to contact the British Consulate. I was told they didn't know where his body was. I asked them if they could promise me nothing more would happen to his body – they said sorry they couldn't guarantee anything and the case workers only worked Monday to Friday so they couldn't get any more information for me.
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"I'm just heartbroken. All I want is to get him home. I want a guarantee my baby's body won't be cremated. But I never got any response from the British Embassy about the coroner situation at all and so I contacted them on Thursday."
Debsy got some answers when a company called Hady Services contacted her – a Vietnamese funeral director who has nearly two decades of experience in dealing with the deaths of tourists and expats.
Hady confirmed Denver’s body was in a morgue in Hanoi and that the post-mortem and embalming had not yet been carried out.
Debsy told the news outlet: "The company is dealing with Beth's body too and we've been told she'll be coming home very soon. If the bodies were together, I don't understand why the delay with my Denver.
"We were told that an official coroner would not have WhatsApped us, but an official person from the hospital should have called us and a translator would have been provided – and we definitely should not have got those graphic images sent to us."
Leiceestershire cops then told the family the WhatsApp messages had come from a scam artists who had obtained Denver’s details by hacking into the system in Vietnam.
Officers advised her to block the scammer and not to speak to them again.
In the wake of Denver’s death, his family, including brothers DJ, Danny and sister Charlie, had set up a JustGiving page to raise the funds needed to bring him home as they did not have access to his travel insurance documents.
Currently, nearly £23,000 has been raised from more than 730 donors.
Debsy said they still had to pay for Denver’s remains to be sent back to the UK which would cost more than £12,000 but now had to find a legitimate company to begin the process.
Denver had been visiting south east Asia and was planning to go to Cambodia and Bali before heading to Perth, Australia.
He was due to start a new job in London in July having gained a masters degree from Leicester University.
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Cops told the local website Viet Nam News, that the motorbike had crashed into a power pole at the side of the road while Denver and Beth were travelling from Hoi An to Dien Ban Commune.
The friends had been riding on one motorbike, according to the cops, but it is not clear who was in control of the bike or if another vehicle was involved in the crash.
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