Devastated family reveals trauma of bringing body of Vietnam crash victim back to UK

Denver Barfield, of Leicester, died in the early hours of May 16 after the motorcycle he was riding crashed into a telegraph pole in Vietnam’s Quang Nam province

Denver Barfield was on a three-month trip to Asia
Denver Barfield was on a three-month trip to Asia

The body of a 24-year-old who died while traveling in Asia was repeatedly “lost” en route to the UK and was found in a state of disrepair.

Denver Barfield’s family fought for his repatriation for more than a month, encountering everything from unhelpful government agencies to sickened scammers.

Denver, of Leicester, died in the early hours of May 16 after the motorcycle he was riding crashed into a telegraph pole in Quang Nam province, Vietnam.

Beth Thompson, 24, a fellow Brit and a University of Leicester Masters student, was also killed in the crash.

The couple planned on traveling to Cambodia, Bali and Australia before Denver landed a job in London.

But after the tragedy, his family faces a living nightmare.

They said they received little support from the Foreign Office or the British Embassy and that his body remained in the Southeast Asian country for weeks with few updates. This is reported by Sky News.

It took more than a month to bring Denver Barfield home

Mum Debsy Clayton was molested by a man posing by a coroner demanding £10,000 for Denver repatriation and sending graphic images of the crash scene when she didn’t pay. Turns out he was a scammer.

His sister Charley Clayton said British police told her they didn’t know where Denver’s body was.

“The embassy in Vietnam later informed us that his body was in one place and safe. But then my mom was told this wasn’t true and they didn’t know where Denver’s body was,” she added.

The family were eventually billed £12,000 by a legitimate undertaker to fly Denver home but wanted to verify the authenticity.

Charley said that when she called the embassy, ​​the woman there told her to “call back tomorrow” because her shift had just ended.

Denver Barfield, 24, died in an accident last month


Hanoi Local Police)

On May 27, Denver’s body was put on a flight that was supposed to fly direct, but it ended up in Istanbul for nine hours, and even when it finally landed, it still took two days to reach the funeral home.

During that time, mother Debsy had called the hospital and was told they had no idea where Denver’s body was.

Denver’s body was eventually placed on a flight on May 27.

His sister said the family had been told it would be direct, but instead the passenger plane had a nine-hour layover in Istanbul.

On May 28, Debsy Clayton called the local hospital, where they were told Denver’s body would be brought in and told they had no idea where he was.

Charley said, “How can you lose a body? It’s not like it’s a piece of carry-on luggage.”

Debsy, who was “hysterical” at the time, called the police, only to be told it wasn’t for her and to “pull it up,” Charley said.

Denver Barfield, 24, died in a motorcycle accident in Vietnam



When the undertaker finally received Denver’s body, there were no papers and it was “severely discolored” because it had not been embalmed.

Charley said the undertakers told her they had “never seen anything like it,” his clothes smelled of bodily fluids and feces, and the rug Vietnamese police used to cover his body at the crash site was still with him – his designer sneakers weren’t.

Denver’s family is now awaiting the results of an autopsy and subsequent investigation.

Leicestershire Police offered their condolences to the family and apologized for an initial loss of communication, but said a check found they acted appropriately and the call handler “managed the call in a courteous and professional manner”.

The Foreign Office said: “Our staff are supporting the families of a British man and woman who died in a traffic accident in Vietnam.”

Charley said, “Denver had his whole life ahead of him — he had so many things he wanted to do.”

She added that she only realized he wasn’t coming home when she entered the room and saw his body.

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