Poison death probe widens

Indonesian police will visit Perth in the next two weeks as part of a widened investigation into the poisoning death of Perth teenager Liam Davies.

Officers will interview key staff at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, including the head of the intensive care unit and the toxicologist who examined the comatose 19-year-old after he was airlifted from Lombok.

Three of Mr Davies' friends who were with him in Lombok on the night he was poisoned will be shown photos of suspects and asked to identify who had served the fatal drinks.

The visit, which is backed by Australian Federal Police, is a breakthrough for Mr Davies' parents, who have spent the past five months campaigning for an investigation into their son's death.

"We never thought we'd get this far," Lhani Davies said yesterday.

Mr Davies, a roof carpenter from Marmion, was holidaying with friends in Lombok over the new year break when he is believed to have unwittingly drunk a vodka lime mix laced with methanol at Rudy's Pub, a popular bar on Gili Trawangan.

He became violently ill and passed out on New Year's Day. After being airlifted back to Perth, he died at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital when his family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support.

Since his death, Mrs Davies and husband Tim have launched a charity - Lifesaving Initiatives Against Methanol - and set up a campaign in both Australia and Indonesia to raise awareness of the methanol risk.

They have just returned from Lombok where they distributed flyers, stands, pamphlets and stubby holders to shops, bars and backpacker resorts across the island. "There is a change of culture over there happening," Mrs Davies said.

"We want to get these into hotels, short-term stays, the local fish and chip shop, the airport, the store, everywhere."

The warnings will be distributed in schools across Australia.

Mr Davies hoped airlines would help distribute the message.

He and his wife wanted to make a tangible difference to prevent more cases of methanol poisoning and to improve frontline medical treatment in Bali and Lombok.

Last month, a workshop was held at Bali's Sanglah Hospital about how to diagnose and treat methanol poisoning. It was led by Australian nurse Di Brown.

"We were a bit worried about offending people as we thought this may just be an issue for foreigners, but as it turned out it is also a huge problem for locals," Mrs Brown said yesterday.

The West Australian

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