The nine-year-old son of two British academics fell to his death from a hotel while on holiday in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) hasn’t revealed details of the incident due to the age of the child, but reports suggest he fell from either a fire escape or window. A spokesman for the agency said that they are aware of a British national’s death, and they are providing consular assistance to the family. They won’t give any further details because the death involves a child, he added.
Matthew Hamer was the son of Dr Keith Hamer and Professor Jane Hill – respected biologists who worked at several universities before staying in the current roles. Hamer is a reader in animal ecology at Leeds University, as well as an expert on seabirds and their relationship with climate change and food supply. Hill is the associate head of York University’s department of biological sciences.
It’s understood that both Hamer and Hill are still in Malaysia, where an investigation into the tragedy continues. The family is said to have been taking a short holiday before Hill started some research at a Royal Society field station in Borneo. She is currently studying the impact of climate change on tropical butterflies and other species. Hamer is currently researching the ecology of rainforests and tropical climates.
York University colleagues have expressed shock at the news. Department of biological sciences head Professor Deborah Smith says that they heard the news of Matthew’s tragic death with great sadness. The thoughts of colleagues and friends in the department and throughout the university are with Hamer and Hill at this terrible time, she added.
Matthew has been described by his Ovington Cricket Club as a great lad. He was in his third year of cricket with the team and was a popular member. Team coach Alan Fletcher said his death is devastating news, as he was a good member of the under-nines team and had been with them for three years. He never got into mischief, listened to what he was told and did it. He worked hard playing cricket and showed talent on the pitch.
The cricket coach continued that Matthew was a sensible boy and wasn’t the type to mess around. He would have been moving up to the under-11s team next season. He was a popular team member and really enjoyed playing cricket. No-one at the club can believe the news, and everyone is upset. They are devastated by this tragic incident, and on behalf of the club, he extends his condolences.
Fletcher also noted that the tragedy has left the club’s young members devastated, as many have known Matthew for all three years he was on the team. However, the details of what happened are still unclear, and the cricket coach admits that the club has been given different stories about the circumstances leading to the tragedy. He said there was a suggestion that Matthew fell from a window and another that he was fatally injured after falling from a fire escape.
Matthew’s neighbours have called him a lovely and friendly boy. Next door neighbour Paul Burland (46) said he was a close friend of his own two sons. They are going to terribly miss him, and they are all very sad, he added.
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