Alex Shorey's female friend under investigation after poisoning

Taipei police claim they found 'relevant evidence' in the woman's home and have restricted her from leaving the country.

A female friend of an Australian student is reportedly under investigation after the 24-year-old ingested a powerful rat poison, causing him to fall deathly ill.

Alex Shorey landed in Brisbane on Wednesday night after his family raised $208,000 for a specialist charter flight from Taiwan, where he had been studying for almost a year. Mr Shorey, who was due to return home before falling seriously ill several weeks ago, is now recovering at Princess Alexandra Hospital, where he was in stable condition on Thursday.

Confirming his family’s suspicions, doctors at the Taipei hospital where he was being treated found the university student from the Queensland city of Toowoomba had ingested superwarfarin — a potent type of anticoagulant commonly used in rat poisons.

Left, Alex Shorey and his brother. Right Alex Shorey being medically evacuated back to Australia. Source: 9News
Alex Shorey (pictured far left with his brother) landed in Brisbane on Wednesday night after his family raised $208,000 for a specialist charter flight from Taiwan. Source: 9News

Police investigate 'girlfriend' in poisoning

In a shocking twist, a Taipei City Police spokesman told the ABC investigators had “found relevant evidence” regarding the poisoning while searching “the home of a female friend” on Wednesday.

“Police questioned this female friend on Thursday and restricted her from leaving Taiwan,” the spokesman said, confirming to the ABC that she is the only suspect. A theory that Mr Shorey accidentally ingested the poison while eating street food or from illicit drugs has been rejected by investigators.

The Taipei Times claims the woman in question is Mr Shorey’s Taiwanese girlfriend and said she has not yet been arrested or charged. She allegedly told authorities she intended to consume the poison herself after a fight with the 24-year-old, but he accidentally did so instead, the publication cites Chinese-language media.

Alex Shorey in hospital after falling ill in Taiwan.
The 24-year-old was due to soon return home when he fell seriously ill several weeks ago. Source: ABC

Family grateful for support

Earlier this week, Mr Shorey’s brother revealed the student had fallen ill on his birthday, with the entire ordeal starting out “as a nosebleed and blood in his urine”.

“So we weren’t really sure what it was at first,” Jean-Luc Shorey said, adding that his dad, Dr Stephen Shorey, immediately flew to Taiwan to help. “The longer it took to diagnose, he was getting his kidney, liver, lungs and heart damaged. “Because the blood had perforated his muscles he started getting black spots all over his body as the blood seeped into his muscles. All his symptoms were very strange.”

His aunt Elizabeth Shorey-Kitson said the Queensland native suffered haemorrhaging and a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to treatment in hospital in Taiwan.

Alex Shorey in a black and white photo.
University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor Deborah Terry said it was in touch with the Shorey family and had offered support. Source: GoFundMe

In an update on Wednesday, she added her nephew was still critically unwell and required oxygen and IV medication. She again thanked people who sent donations and messages of support, and the health staff who treated him.

“We are extremely grateful to Alex's medical team for their expertise and the care they've shown in treating him. We thank you all so much for everything you've done, we will be forever thankful.”

With AAP

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