Former Bristol Uni student survives near-death stabbing incident in Thailand

Hugo Mooney was stabbed in the neck with a broken beer bottle at a bar on a remote party island


A former Bristol student has nearly died after being stabbed in the neck in Thailand at the end of January.

The 26-year-old Hugo Mooney, originally from Brighton, was on Ko Pha Ngan island in Southern Thailand when he was attacked after intervening to protect a friend who was being harassed by another tourist at the bar.

Speaking to Vice News, Hugo described how the incident unfolded: “I was looking out for my female friend who had been harassed by a creep all night.”

Charlene Driscoll, the friend in question, told Vice News how it was “a horrific night I’m not going to forget easily”, adding that “he was grabbing my arm and coming in close in an aggressive manner.

“At this point, Hugo asked the man to leave me alone and stop being weird to women. Hugo and I left the situation and went to dance which was when the attacker came up behind us and stabbed Hugo in the neck. I wasn’t sure what had happened at first but then I just saw so much blood and realised he had been stabbed.”

Hugo has lived in Thailand for almost two years and runs a backpackers hostel. Credit @hugomooney

Hugo described the harrowing moment of the attack, explaining: “After I told the creep to go away and leave my friend alone, I turned my back and walked away. The man then smashed a bottle and stabbed my neck.”

Hugo attests his survival to the skills of Isaac Berman, a Canadian doctor who stepped in to stem the blood flow using piles of napkins while waiting around 45 minutes for a truck to arrive to take him to the nearest hospital.

Hugo recounts that: “He took control of the situation right away. He applied constant pressure to my neck and gave me advice on what I can best do to stay alive.”

Charlene expressed her fear for Hugo’s life, recounting: “I was terrified my friend was going to die. Had it not been for the doctor being there, I think he might have.”

Hugo was then ushered onto a pick-up truck, which took over an hour and a half to reach the nearest hospital on the island.  The following day, police showed up to gather additional testimony.

Speaking to Bristol Live, Hugo explained how the police removed him from his hospital bed: “Only 14 hours after I got my neck cut, two policemen took me out of the hospital to the station as they said they needed another testimony (although I gave one at the hospital a few hours prior).

“I never got any check-up from a doctor or nurse before they removed me through the back entrance of the hospital.”

Hugo was shocked by the lack of medical follow-up, sharing that: “The Canadian doctor was also so surprised to see me out of the hospital so soon. They then, without warning, brought me into a room with the man who stabbed me.

“He was sat in handcuffs and was trying to speak with me. I was in such a shock and just told him to shut up and stop talking. He was then removed from the room and I then had to take a few minutes to calm down.

“I then repeated everything I already said to the police. It all didn’t seem that strange till after it happened and now I realise how wrong they were.”

Mooney also mentioned that individuals, claiming to be friends of the attacker, proposed a considerable sum in ‘compensation’ money to persuade him to withdraw the case, an offer he declined.

Mooney noted that the island’s police, with whom he typically maintained a positive relationship, similarly suggested he accept the monetary offer from him.

This outcome is consistent with Thailand’s legal and cultural practices. Section 420 of the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand mandates ‘compensation for wrongful acts, supporting resolutions through financial restitution’. This legal framework complements cultural norms that favour reconciliation and social harmony over confrontation.

Two days following the incident, the attacker was convicted of assault and confessed to his crime. He was given a one-year suspended prison sentence and a 2,500 Thai baht ($70) fine.

Reflecting on the outcome, he expressed his disbelief to Vice News: “This man tried to kill me, it was attempted murder. If I wasn’t as lucky as I was that night, I would be dead. So, for this man, who showed no remorse, to be fined £55 as a punishment is crazy, it’s unbelievable.”

A UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson stated: “We are providing consular assistance to a British national in Thailand and are in contact with the authorities.” However, they emphasised their limited capacity to intervene in police and legal matters.

Featured image credit @hugomooney on Instagram. 

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