SECRETS OF THE SNAKEMAN; Cops' dossier reveals tragic Scot's strange passion for reptiles and high-life with transsexual porn starlet.
THE bizarre life and death of Scots snakebite victim Garrick Wales can be revealed today.
A dossier of previously secret police photographs and reports detail the businessman's final hours and mysterious death.
Pictures and paperwork passed to the Sunday Mail show how Garrick's body was found in a white 4x4 parked on open ground in America last year.
A box of four deadly snakes was found nearby. The investigators' reports reveal how: # His family were aware of his 'strange fascination with snakes' before his death.
# An unexplained crutch, plastic gloves and syringes were found beside him in the rented Chevrolet Blazer.
# His brother feared he may have been injecting himself with snake venom in an attempt to become immune to it.
# Garrick planned his own funeral months before and left a list of 80 mourners to be invited.
# He spent thousands on five-star travel and expensive lingerie during his affair with transsexual porn star Joanna Jet.
# He blew another pounds 20,000 on extensive shopping sprees weeks before his death.
# His lover wrote to his grieving family begging to be allowed to secretly visit his grave The incredible revelations were compiled by police investigating the death of the computer expert, whose body was found in Little Rock, Arkansas, on May 13, 2004.
His death had been a mystery until an autopsy confirmed he had died after being bitten by one of the four snakes found in the box.
Garrick had just bought them from a reptile dealer in Florida.
A decomposing bite mark was found on his body but it was not immediately clear if it was fresh and the cause of his death.
Last week, Charles Kokes, a Little Rock-based medical examiner, confirmed Garrick died due to a snake bite.
He added: 'He did have an extensive medical history dating back about a year prior to death.'
Garrick's mysterious death came after the 48-year-old dad-of-three travelled to America from his pounds 750,000 home in Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, where he lived with wife Pamela.
Police believe he had flown to Arkansas to collect the snakes he had purchased and was taking them to a friend's house when he was bitten.
But more than a year after his death, the police have still been unable to piece together his movements on the day he died.
Garrick was last seen alive by a bellman at the Doubletree Hotel in Little Rock at 11.30am, from where he was given a lift to the town's airport.
He picked up the snakes there before collecting his hire car.
Police cannot explain his movements until he phoned the hotel for directions at 8pm. It's not known where he made that call from.
He was not heard from again and his body was found at 7.14am the next day.
Jay St Pierre - the dealer who sold him the snakes - claimed the Scot was on his way to meet his friend Gillian Hamilton in Little Rock.
Police could not trace her, despite a woman of that name being registered there in May last year. The inquiry took another bizarre twist when a metal crutch was found in the back of the car where Garrick was found.
His brother Glenn told police he was a fitness fan and he couldn't explain why he needed a crutch.
Why Garrick was carrying hypodermic needles is also unclear.
Detectives initially thought they were for a medical condition But speculation grew that Garrick was injecting himself with venom to build up an immunity against snake bites after being bitten by a Boomslang snake in South Africa 13 months earlier.
Glenn told detectives: 'While he was walking on a wooden platform he fell. This is when he was bitten several times by one or more snakes.
'He did not realise it until later on when he became ill. Garrick still suffered from medical problems with his stomach and could not produce red blood cells.'
Glenn also told detectives he thought his brother had a 'a strange fascination with snakes and was possibly self-medicating'.
He also confirmed his brother's affair with Jet and admitted she had contacted him after hearing of Garrick's death.
A police statement said: 'He (Glenn) received a phone call from Joanna Carter David AKA Joanna Jet.
'She told him she was a transsexual porn star from Los Angeles. She said that she had been having an affair with Garrick.
'She was supposed to meet Garrick in Little Rock on the day he died.'
In emails to Glenn, Jet wrote: 'As well as working on a number of projects together, Garrick and I were also very good friends.
'I never considered it appropriate to ask how, if at all, I had been described to his immediate family.
'I have no wish to create further anguish... all that I ask is to be told the location of his final resting place once it is known so that I may be able to discreetly visit Garrick, as he meant a great deal to me.'
The key breakthrough in unravelling the mystery of Garrick's death came when a crate containing four snakes was discovered near his car The crate - with a sticker warning of 'venomous reptiles' - held a Forrest Cobra, Black Mamba, Green Mamba and a Twig Snake.
Each had an individual bag but all four zip ties had been cut. The crate was traced to Garrick.
When Garrick's affair with Jet emerged, police discovered he had spent thousands travelling with her.
His credit card bills show he blew tens of thousands in the weeks leading up to his death.
A week before he died he spent pounds 2000 to stay at the Hotel Negresco in Nice, France, one of the world's only privately-owned palaces.
He also shelled out almost pounds 2000 to stay at the Sheraton Hotel in Paris.
On May 7, he spent pounds 12,411 at the Yves Saint Laurent Boutique in London's Old Bond and pounds 4154 on designer clothes from Jean Claude Jitrois.
He blew a further pounds 1000 on wine, pounds 4500 on flights, pounds 1100 in a Paris deli and more than pounds 1000 on Highland dress wear.
He also stocked up on expensive lingerie at Victoria's Secret.
Two weeks before his death, Garrick paid off pounds 21,598 outstanding on his American Express credit card.
He did not leave a will but left pounds 108,000 to his wife Pamela, which included his wine collection worthpounds 5000. Glenn also forwarded detectives a list Garrick had put together of more than 80 contacts his family should notify of his death.
Jet features high in the list under the heading 'very good friend' and with the comment 'be very gentle - very close friend'.
Other entries have the comments, 'wonderfully funny person', 'great pal, fantastic wine cellar' and 'all round great guy.
Around 200 relatives and friends attended Garrick's funeral in May last year.
An email written by Garrick's other brother Barclay informing them of his death read: 'It is difficult to tell exactly what has happened at the moment.
'But we have been advised by the authorities that Garrick passed away while in America on business at the end of last week. 'We are uncertain of the exact facts.
'However, it would appear that Garrick had [fallen] ill while driving his rental car and was found in his car by the police in the early hours of Friday morning.
'Arrangements are in hand for bringing Garrick home, hopefully by the end of this week.'
At the funeral, Reverend Laurence Whitley told mourners: 'He was unique.'
Garrick grew up in Cambuslang, near Glasgow, and was educated at private school Gordounstoun, where Prince Charles was also a pupil.
At the age of 12, he sang solo for the Queen at Edinburgh's St Giles Cathedral while the prince played the cello.
After leaving Gordounstoun, near Elgin, he studied business at university and later trained as a deep-sea diver before landing work within the North Sea oil industry. His father, a self-made millionaire who won an MBE, ran an industrial paint business.
The family business, Stewart Wales Somerville Ltd, is now managed by Garrick's brother Barclay.
Clients include Buckingham Palace and Rolls-Royce.
Curious Detectives have now closed their investigation into Garrick's death.
Terry Hastings, from Little Rock Police Department, said: 'Since it's not a crime, we don't have the time or the manpower.
'As curious as everybody is about it, we are not investigating
Attacked: Garrick recovers in hospital after being bitten by a Boomslang snake in South Africa in 2003; Deadly: Snakes were in this box found near the car; Last sighting: The Doubletree Hotel; Venom: Snake bite killed Scot Garrick; Affair: Porn star Jet; Death scene: Wales was found dead inside this hired 4x4
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Jun 26, 2005|
|Previous Article:||Elaine C. Smith: 20 BODIES EVERY DAY IS PRICE OF BLAIR WAR; But we now have killing fatigue.|
|Next Article:||Email: Hit the festival front page.|