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30 Oct, 2018 10:10

BBC Sport editor apologizes after claiming Thai model crash victim was Leicester owner’s ‘mistress’

BBC Sport editor apologizes after claiming Thai model crash victim was Leicester owner’s ‘mistress’

BBC Sport editor Dan Roan has been forced to apologize after he was heard describing the ex-model who died in the Leicester City helicopter crash alongside club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha as the Thai businessman’s “mistress.”

Cameras picked up Roan making the unguarded off-air comments while reporting from Leicester’s King Power stadium, the scene of Saturday night’s crash which killed five people, including club owner Srivaddhanaprabha and his assistant, Nusara Suknamai.

READ MORE: Thai beauty queen among 5 dead in Leicester City helicopter crash

Standing beside the masses off flowers and other tributes to the victims, Roan was heard on a Sky News feed saying: "The mistress who died in the crash… otherwise known as a member of staff…i.e. mistress.

“If you were a billionaire, it’s relatively expected, so we shouldn’t judge,” he added in an apparent joke with others standing near the memorial.

Suknamai, 32, was employed as Srivaddhanaprabha’s assistant and was traveling on board the billionaire’s helicopter when it crashed shortly after take-off from the pitch following Leicester’s Premier League match against West Ham on Saturday night.

Fellow Thai member of staff Kaveporn Punpare was also killed, as were pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

READ MORE: Leicester City owner confirmed among dead in helicopter crash 

After Roan’s insensitive comments emerged online, the BBC sports editor was forced into an apology, saying “absolutely no offence intended.”

That was not enough for many social media users, with some Leicester fans demanding that he “not come anywhere” near their club again.

Others called for Roan – who has been the BBC Sport editor since 2014 – to be sacked, claiming that if a footballer had made similar comments, they would be “skewered.”

The BBC also issued an apology through a spokesperson, saying: "This was an ill-judged comment made in a private off-air conversation for which Dan has apologized."

Suknamai, from Bangkok, was a former model and Miss Thai Universe runner-up before she was hired as Srivaddhanaprabha’s assistant.

She frequently shared Instagram posts with pictures alongside Leicester City players.

Vigils continued outside the King Power stadium yesterday when Srivaddhanaprabha’s family and players and club staff - many of whom were visibuly upset - arrived to pay their respects to the victims of the crash.


Tributes have poured in from around the world to Srivaddhanaprabha, who had become a beloved figure to players, staff and fans at the Foxes since buying the club in 2010.


His investment and work at the club has been credited with enabling the team’s “miracle” Premier League season in 2015-16, when the club defied odds of 5,000-1 to win the title.

READ MORE: Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha: The billionaire behind one of sport's greatest ever stories