American father-of-two stabs himself to death with a pair of scissors in Taiwan courtroom

Published 17.06.2016 13:24

An American man fatally stabbed himself with a pair of scissors in a Taiwan courtroom Thursday during his sentencing on drug possession charges, raising questions over security failings.

The man, named as 41-year-old Tyrel Martin Marhanka, is thought to have hidden the dismantled scissors inside a magazine to get past a metal detecting door, Changhua district court said.

The court vowed to beef up its security control by adding two X-ray scanners when it moves to a new building.

There is not enough room for the scanners at its current facility, it said.

When the judge handed down a four-year prison sentence for smuggling poppy and marijuana seeds and for growing marijuana, Marhanka stabbed himself in the neck before bailiffs could stop him.

He was rushed to a hospital but emergency treatment failed to revive him.

"We deeply regret that Tyrel Martin Marhanka killed himself during the sentencing," the court said in a statement.

"He was cooperative during the investigation and the trial. His attitude was mild and he did not show any signs that he would commit suicide."

The official Central News Agency Marhanka told investigators he was growing the plants purely for his own consumption. The American had been teaching English and was living in Changhua with his Taiwanese wife and two children.

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