THE body of Ibiza tragedy victim Luke Rhoden has been flown back home.
The Ince 25-year-old’s body arrived in the country yesterday morning, more than two weeks after his death, and plans are now under way for his funeral.
Today Luke’s father Norman issued a heartfelt thank-you to those who have offered support and also raised the funds needed to bring his son’s body home.
“He’s with the UK coroner at the moment,” he told the Wigan Evening Post.
“We’re relieved to get Luke home and make arrangements for people to see him off.
“We’re trying to pencil in October 2 to put him to rest, we need to co-ordinate with the church and funeral directors first to have that arranged.
“It’s going to be more of a celebration rather than a sombre occasion. He would want to go out with something bright and people telling stories.
“I am so thankful to absolutely everyone, the support has been amazing.”
Former Wigan Warriors academy player Luke died on the Spanish island on September 2 outside the Ibiza Rocks Hotel after suffering a heart attack.
Moments earlier he was involved in a struggle with Civil Guard officers (the military force charged with police duties in Ibiza).
Initial beliefs were that drugs in Luke’s system were responsible for his death but, in the hours following the incident, streams of witnesses came forward alleging severe police brutality and there is now a question whether their actions brought it on.
This week the emergency doctor who attended to Luke at the scene, Dr Santiago Akoskin, revealed that he had to tell the officers three times to let go of him before he could carry out his duties.
He claimed he told one officer that had his baton held over Luke’s throat: “You’re asphyxiating him”.
But Mr Rhoden said: “The police are now trying to blame the doctor for malpractice.
“My question is if you thought there was malpractice, why have you not said the doctor has done something untoward from day one?
“They’ve not done that, they’ve just given me a very basic explanation of what happened.
“Now, after the doctor has said what they did they are saying he is to blame. It stinks.”
Once Luke’s funeral has taken place, Mr Rhoden will launch legal proceedings in the hope that if somebody is responsible for his son’s death, they will be held to account.
He also explained how any future funds raised in Luke’s memory will be spent. “Things are still going on, there’s a fun day at Goose Green on September 27 from noon until 2am. There’s stuff I don’t even know about, people who we don’t even know doing things; that’s what is so great. Even my neighbours have been collecting and bringing money. I just can’t thank people enough.
“I might not know about it for a few months but someone has to be accountable for Luke’s death. Once the money raised to get Luke home has paid for that and his funeral, anything that is left will go towards legal fees and flying witnesses out there if they need to be.
“I’m just trying to think five steps ahead of myself. I don’t want people to think we’ve got Luke home and buried and everything is finished, there is the legal side of it now.”
ABolton Coroner’s Court spokesman said that an inquest will eventually be held into Luke’s death but only after all investigations have been concluded overseas. The inquest will be opened in the coming weeks but then adjourned indefinitely.