British MotoGP worker, 50, killed by firework after it exploded in his face

Gareth Davies
The Telegraph
Gary McLaren, 50, with his Thai wife, Jasmine, - ViralPress
Gary McLaren, 50, with his Thai wife, Jasmine, - ViralPress

A British MotoGP worker was killed on the stroke of midnight in front of his fiance after trying to let off a firework which exploded in his face.

Gary McLaren, 50, was ringing in the New Year with friends in Pattaya, eastern Thailand, on Dec 31.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

The motorcycle lover, from Corby, Nothamptonshire, who worked in IT and technology for MotoGP, was due to marry his Thai fiance Jasmine this year having recently travelled to London with her to meet his parents.

Speaking by phone today, Jasmine, a hairdresser, said she was "too upset" to speak. But she posted a picture online - taken moments before the deadly accident - showing the couple.

She wrote: "You will be in my heart forever."

Shortly after the picture was taken, Mr McLaren tried to set off a 50cm long firework outside the Miami A Gogo bar.

After two attempts, smoke began billowing from the firework before it exploded and knocked him backwards. He was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight.

Bar worker Wassana Ngontai, who witnessed the incident, said: "I saw the man try to set off the fire work. He tried to do it two times, The first time didn't work. The second time smoke came out.

"The man didn't move, then there was a big explosion in his face and he fell back."

Police said that crowds had been celebrating the New Year in the area.

When they arrived at the scene of the accident, the MotoGP worker was laying on the ground wounds to his face.

Police Captain Nakhonrat Nontseelard, Deputy Deputy Minister of Investigation of Pattaya City Police Station, said: "We were notified that somebody had been killed by an explosion on Pattaya Beach Soi.

"Rescue personnel who attended to the injured person performed chest compressions but it was too late as he was already dead.

"There was a firework at the scene which the victim was trying to light. We have kept that as evidence and will investigate the incident."

Police said that the British Embassy in Bangkok has been informed of the death. Mr McLaren's body was taken away to a hospital for post-mortem examination.

What to read next