Scientist's death ruled an accident

The death of retired Cayman Islands civil servant Astley McLaughlin has been ruled an accident following a post-mortem examination and subsequent tests, members of Mr. McLaughlin’s family told the Cayman Compass on Friday.

Mr. McLaughlin, a chemist, was found dead in his Beach Bay Road home on Sept. 13 by his brother, Clarence.

Clarence McLaughlin said Friday that there had never been any particular reason to believe his brother’s death was suspicious, but he indicated that family members wished to make certain since several break-ins had occurred at his brother’s home in 2014.

Astley McLaughlin told the Compass in July 2014 that his home had been burgled at least three times that year. The latest incident involved him catching two burglars in the act of taking a 50-inch plasma television from his home. No one was ever convicted in connection with the break-in.

Clarence McLaughlin said it appeared that his brother had been critically injured in a fall from a second-floor balcony of the home likely sometime between Sept. 10 and Sept. 11.

His body was found Sept. 13 after his brothers were unable to contact him and were forced to break into the home, where they found Mr. McLaughlin on the linoleum floor.

Funeral services for Mr. McLaughlin were held Saturday.

Mr. McLaughlin was originally from Cayman Brac, but his family – including his four brothers – moved to the U.S. early on. He attended high school in New York City and university in upstate New York and later in Indiana. He returned to work for the Cayman Islands government after several years at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York.

His name became familiar in the Cayman Islands in the late 1990s and through the early 2000s due to a court challenge he brought against the government over his December 1998 firing.

Mr. McLaughlin was ruled to have been wrongfully fired by the Cayman Islands government in a court case that was eventually taken to the U.K. Privy Council. He had been on the public payroll since the council’s judgment, which was made effective as of the date of his official termination – April 1999 – up through the last government budget year, which ended June 30, 2015.

He was never placed in another civil service post.

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  1. Thank God Mr McLaughlin had the means of bringing a case against the Cayman Island Government and won for his wrongful dismissal.
    Today many Caymanians suffer because they could not afford to bring cases for unfair dismissal by the Cayman Island Government.
    For all of those who have suffered, I say remember Time is longer than rope, and no one knows how the tide may change to the fate of them same persons.
    Sorry Mr McLaughlin did not get the time to enjoy every penny he earned, but God wanted him home. God bless the family.