Australian in Singapore to watch F1 died from deep cut in wrist, likely from drunkenly punching through window: Coroner

Australian in Singapore to watch F1 died from deep cut in wrist, likely from drunkenly punching through window: Coroner

File photo of the Substation. (Photo: TODAY)

SINGAPORE: A 34-year-old Australian man in Singapore to watch the Formula 1 race last year died from a deep cut in his wrist sustained from a punch through a glass window, a coroner's court has found.

In findings released on Thursday (Apr 16), State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam ruled Mr Nicholas Charles Mcgrath's death "an unfortunate misadventure".

He was found dead and covered in blood along the hallway on the third floor at The Substation on Sep 21.

Mr Mcgrath's wife had told the court that she found his death "very sudden" and questioned if there was foul play involved.

The court heard that Mr Mcgrath was a construction manager at PM Electric, an electrical contractor in Australia.

He came to Singapore on Sep 19 last year with his colleagues on a company leisure trip to watch the Formula 1 race over the weekend and checked into Swissotel Merchant Court.


A day after arriving in Singapore, Mr Mcgrath told his colleagues that he wanted to go to the Padang early to watch the race, but they were not interested, telling him that they would join him later.

Mr Mcgrath began sending videos of himself having drinks and watching practice races to his work chat group from 5.50pm.

He later joined his colleagues at The Grandstand and was observed to be tipsy but not drunk. Later, some of his colleagues went to the music tent where a band was playing, but Mr Mcgrath went to use the toilet and did not join them.

Eyewitnesses at Timbre, a bar across from The Substation, told the court that they saw Mr Mcgrath there from about 12.30am on Sep 21, 2019.

Timbre's operations manager told the court that he spoke to Mr Mcgrath, who asked him for a good place to watch rugby.

According to the manager, Mr Mcgrath "was tipsy but not drunk" and could hold a proper conversation. From the tone of their chat, it was unlikely that Mr Mcgrath harboured any suicidal thoughts, the court heard.

Another manager at Timbre said he saw Mr Mcgrath walk past him in his office at about 2.45am that day, before entering The Substation.

He and another colleague said they did not hear any noises or shouting from The Substation that night.

Closed-circuit television footage showed Mr Mcgrath going up to the Timbre office at 2.47am. He did not seem fearful or troubled, said the coroner.


The cleaner for The Substation building reported for work at about 8am and opened the locked main door. He noticed a foul smell coming from the third floor, where classrooms are let out to independent artists and the public, and found Mr Mcgrath lying motionless along the hallway.

He immediately called the police, and paramedics pronounced Mr Mcgrath dead at the scene at 8.31am. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be acute bleeding from a deep wound in his right wrist.

A toxicological analysis found that Mr Mcgrath was likely to have been in a state of intoxication before his death.

"Witness accounts indicated that Mr Mcgrath had not displayed any suicidal behaviour prior to his demise," said the coroner.

She said there was no basis to suspect foul play, and said Mr Mcgrath must have been disoriented and incapable of finding his way out of The Substation after wandering in.

"The shattered window pane bore evidence of being smashed from the inside. Mr Mcgrath's hands were observed to have glass fragments embedded in the skin," she said. "Coupled with the deep laceration on his right wrist, the circumstances suggest that Mr Mcgrath had used his right fist to punch through the glass window."

The coroner added that Mr Mcgrath's intoxicated state probably contributed to his panic and confusion. 

"This would also explain why Mr Mcgrath did not use his handphone to call his colleagues or the police for assistance, or simply to turn the handle to unlatch the window to open it," she said. 

"Instead, he chose to smash the window with his fist. As a result, he sustained a deep incised wound on his right wrist caused by the jagged edges of the broken window which led to his death. In the circumstances, I find Mr Mcgrath's death to be an unfortunate misadventure."

Source: CNA/ll(cy)