Suspect Arrested in Mike Blakeys Death

by Bene Diction on December 11, 2006

I know everyone here at connexions are grieving Michael Blakey’s death. Many, many of you knew him personally, and the news has been a dreadful shock, and the grief has weighed heavily.

India Police have made an arrest in the murder of 23 year old Michael Blakey of the UK.

It is extremely important to note that initial reports Blakey had been stoned are not true.

The investigation was taken over by an India Police Superintendent, as UK media began to pay attention. The autopy report indicates Blakey was brutally attacked and his body was left under paving stones in a ditch in Dharamsala.

The news of his death shocked the university community, including Swansea University. Michael had posted here at connexions, where his friends have been honouring him.

Telugu Portal, Reuters and the BBC are reporting the arrest. IANS is the Indo-Asian News Service which first broke the story of his murder. IANS:

A man here has been arrested for the alleged murder of his wife’s former boyfriend, British charity worker Michael Blakey.
An email retrieved from Blakey’s laptop suggests he had been threatened by Pawan Bharadwaj, who was arrested late Sunday.
The 23-year-old’s body was found partially buried under rocks in a cemetery near a church here nearly two weeks ago. Blakey hailed from Swansea, Wales.
“Yes we he have arrested Bharadwaj in connection with the murder of Michael Blakey,” Santosh Patial, a senior police official here, told IANS Monday.
According to police, Bharadwaj was married to Rachel Owens, who was said to be Blakey’s girlfriend earlier. They broke up after Rachel and Bharadwaj got married in July.
According to local news reports, an email retrieved from Blakey’s laptop suggests that Bharadwaj had threatened him to stay away from Rachel.
Both Blakey and Rachel worked for the same charity Tong Len, which looked after the welfare of street children. Police have also seized records of the charity organisation.

Blakey’s body was found three days after he was last seen November 25th and shortly before he was to fly home for Christmas.
His funeral will be held this week in his home town.

Correction (added by Richard): Contrary to the quoted text (which is doing the rounds of many newspapers and websites, Michael and Rachel have never been romantically attached.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }


blonde 12.11.06 at 3:29 pm

There was never a relationship between Rachel and Michael in the way that you (and/or the Indian police and British tabloids) imply. It is irresponsible to report such unfounded conjecture as fact. It is simply untrue.


BD 12.11.06 at 9:35 pm

Blonde, you are correct - that has been soundly denied.

As you can see by Richard’s correction, and corrections made by the BBC.

I left that in the text; given you and so many know the truth it is easier to refute it here.

Media and wire services are checking this blog.
Unfortunately it will be impossible to deal with every mistake media makes, and in grief and loss that can be very wearying and distressing.


Richard 12.11.06 at 10:20 pm

Thanks BD - let’s leave the text you’ve quoted. It is such a widespread stoty and we can’t pretend it isn’t out there. At least by quoting it here, Mike’s friends have the chance to have their say on it. I heard on the tv tonight that Rachel’s husband has appeared in court. Let’s keep them all in our prayers.


blonde 12.12.06 at 12:21 am

I know you know, BeneD, but the random hacks that need something sensational to hang a story on don’t; they seem willing to print anything for scandal value.

I haven’t yet seen, but am very glad to hear from you, that the Beeb have corrected themselves on this front.

I didn’t mean to sound off at you personally, or even as representative of your profession - but yes, it is very tiring and distressing for even only friends to read such idiocy, so I dread to think how much worse it must be for real family.

it seems we’re fighting a losing battle sometimes, but thank you for your attention and support.


Anonymous 12.12.06 at 9:45 pm

Saturday, December 9, 2006
Dharamsala Mourns Pandit Blakey
Dharamsala, HQ of the Tibetan Government in Exile, is in shock after the murder of charity worker Michael Blakey.

I was horrified to hear the news from a friend on Thursday morning. I worked with Michael in the summer of 2004, when we were both volunteering with a Tibetan charity in our summer vacations. Michael was reading for his BA in development studies at Swansea at the time, where he went on to get a first. He was an overwhelmingly decent guy, who always wore his learning lightly. He also had a typically dry ‘northern’ sense of humour. I really cannot think of any motive for this killing. One theory that has been floating around over the past few days is that it was the work of Chinese spies trying to discredit the Dalai Lama.

My thoughts are really with Michael’s friends and family - and the communities he worked with in Dharamsala - as they try to come to terms with this senseless loss. This really is such a waste of a brilliant young life.

He was teaching English with me at The Multi-Education Centre an adult education centre which provides Tibetan refugees with training in English and Hindi language. He was also heavily involved in research for a project to help street children in lower Dharamsala when I knew him. I am assuming this was for the Tong Len Charitable Trust, which he was working for this year.

While there has been a steady stream of foreign support to Tibetan refugee charities in McLeod Ganj (’upper’ Dharamsala, where most of the monasteries and back-packer hangouts are), vulnerable Indian communities in Lower Dharamsala have been something of aid blind-spot. There was an unusually large slum community in this part of town, mainly of migrant labourers who had fallen on hard times. However, while McLeod Ganj prospered, no-one seemed to be particularly concerned about the conditions further down the mountain, which were shocking even for India. I feel that this displayed real foresight and fresh thinking on Michael’s part.

I have to disagree violently with Carol Sarler’s piece in The Times on so-called aid tourists in developing countries. Sarler’s piece compares Michael’s death with that of Rachel Corrie, an American student who was killed while working as a ‘human shield’ in the Gaza Strip. Sarler winges about dewy-eyed young people heading out to the developing world armed with backpacks and a resolve to save the world. ‘Bloody adrenalin junkies’, she rants.

This is a lazy piece of journalism if ever there was one. Michael was no thrill seeker. Nor was he some left-leaning bore who had ‘like, totally fallen in love’ with India. This was a realistic, hard-working and intellectually rigorous guy who spoke good Hindi and was due to start a PhD in London next year. The phenomenon of ‘aid tourists’ definately exists, but anyone looking to Michael Blakey as a ‘news hook’ for a diatribe on tedious do-gooders is way off the mark.

Some of the papers have also made cynical noises about Mike’s Christian faith. Although I only knew him as a friend and colleague for a short time, I can safely say that he was in no way naive or fundamentalist in his beliefs. I feel a twinge of annoyance that the British media is incapable of seeing strong personal faith as anything other than a sign of mild insanity or a source of embarrassment. But I must re-iterate - he was no bungling missionary type, but a compassionate guy who genuinely strived to put Christian teaching into action in his all-too short life.

Michael, you will be sorely missed. We need more like you, yarr…


johnwilson 01.02.07 at 3:29 pm

Lets face the facts, the most likely scenario is that he was murderd because he was a Christian. Christian charities always, without exception, have an agenda of converting the poor heathens. The last thing India needs is another religion.
Its about time the Indian Government puts a full stop to this whole sordid business of Christian missionaries and charities operating in India.


Richard 01.03.07 at 4:59 pm

John - I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years, but I’ve rarely seen a comment of such breathtaking ignorance. You clearly know nothing of Christian charity work in general, or of Mike Blakey in particular. “Christian charities always, without exception, have an agenda of converting the poor heathens”?? did you ever hear of Christian Aid? That’s just one example of the many examples which contradict your sweeping generalization. As for Mike and the charity he was working with, had you bothered to even half check your “facts” you would have known that ‘converting heathens’ had no part of the agenda, hidden or otherwise.


angela tristram 01.14.07 at 10:16 pm

Hi, I was heartened to read anon’s blog and feel here was someone like us who knew Mike and understood what he stood for as a human being and a committed christian. I wish I had read Carol Sarley’s article and to have Mike compared to a dewy-eyed backpacking ‘bloody adrenalin seeking junkie’ who wants to put this world to rights is farcical. Mike was and always will be a grounded young man with deep convictions which he followed with his real christain way of being. He most certainly did not have a dewey eyed perspective on his path in life. I listen to his deep love of the people he was working with. yes he had a christain faith that he owned and used, yes he went where many of us would not dare; but he did not go to convert or ‘educate the poor heathens’.
The few people I know who go to the developing countries to work go there ; to be among the peoples and share their lives and help them to begin a journey that could bring some assemblance of order back to their lives. It is a two way process and my friends come back enrichened by what they have also learned about human interaction and life an a level we cannot even begin to imaging. These people I know are christians but it is their christain faith that gives them the strength to go and return not to convert but to help.
It is my christain faith that has brought me into contact with Mike and many other people in uni and also it is my christain faith that I turn to when seeking solace and understanding especially now as we prepare to go and say goodbye to a young man who went where his heart took him fully aware and with love.

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