A former public school teacher has given his final farewell on the 40th day of a hunger strike against a £20billion hotel chain.
John Shepherd, 62, is claiming Mariott Hotels owe him £3million after a car park was built next to his previous home in Thailand.
The former Harrow International School in Bangkok English language teacher is starving himself in east London after the ugly row with the company.
In one of his most recent posts online he said: ‘The hunger strike focuses on the whistle-blower retaliation which has left me homeless and bankrupt at the age of 62. Others continue with the fight against corruption.
John Shepherd, 62, who is on day 40 of the hunger strike, has been fighting Mariott Hotels since 2008 after a car park was built next to his flat in Bangkok
‘Marriott is fully aware of my hunger strike. I have made contact every day. Friends have also been writing on a regular basis
‘If I do pass away, possibly the first ever hunger strike death in protest at corporate wrongdoing, Marriott will have knowingly and callously watched and allowed me to die without stepping in at any level, not even on a humanitarian basis.
‘Marriott knows it is the only entity able to stop this action.
‘At this moment I have very little, if any, body fat remaining and this is likely to be my final fond farewell. Good luck to all of you.’
Mr Shepherd, who is back in the UK, had been so infuriated by the car park near his former home he began to write to local newspapers in 2012 to complain about it and sewage.
The 62-year-old, who previously worked for Harrow International School in Bangkok, was so outraged by the sewage and the unplanned parking area, he began to write to local newspapers in 2012 to complain
Pictured: The St Regis Hotel in Bangkok
After the articles were published, Thai police arrested the former teacher on charges of defamation. He was later released.
But while he was abroad he was told by a friend there was another warrant out for his arrest in the country.
Shepherd, who was educated in the Royal Academy of Music, lost his flat in Bangkok because he decided not to return, fearing the police would action the warrant, he claims.
The former teacher, who has taught music in the UK at Croydon’s Trinity School and Canterbury’s St Edmund’s School, believes the law enforcement action was part of a targeted campaign of harassment against him.
Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s chief executive (pictured in April last year), met with Shepherd during a previous strike, where he asked for a resolution ‘fair to both sides’
Marriott hotels refute Shepherd’s accusations, claiming that the hotel is run by the chain, but has different owners.
Minor International was the company who started construction of the St Regis Hotel in Bangkok in 2008.
Control of the operation was handed over to Starwood, a hotel operator that later merged with Marriott.
However, Shepherd firmly believes the fault lies with Mariott, and says they are targeting him in an alleged campaign of harassment.
Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s chief executive, met with Shepherd during a previous strike, where he asked for a resolution ‘fair to both sides’.
Shepgerd’s case has caught the attention of the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Dame Sarah Mullally, who has urged compassion on the part of the hotel chain
Shepherd stopped starving himself during negotiations but Marriott decided the chain was not at fault so would not hand over the damages.
This morning in a further post at 8am he said he wanted Marriott to return to him everything he had lost.
He added: ‘A paid for home and savings enough to last through my retirement, for a life in London rather than the Far East.
‘I agreed wholeheartedly with CEO Sorenson that a resolution should be “fair to both sides.
‘This spirit of compromise was later withdrawn during a meeting in London at which Marriott executives refused to review evidence.’
A Marriott spokesman told the Times and denied they had started a police investigation into him.
‘We have given Mr Shepherd numerous opportunities to substantiate his claims against us — which he hasn’t been able to do,’ they said.
The spokesman stressed that Minor Hotels, not the Mariott, were responsible for the construction on the St Regis Hotel – and that all complaints should be addressed by them.
The case of Shepherd, who is on hunger strike at his home in East London, has also caught the attention of the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Dame Sarah Mullally, who has urged compassion on the part of the hotel chain.
Dame Sarah wrote: ‘Given his current situation and fragility I’m writing to urge you to consider reaching out once again to John.
‘It would surely be tragic if he ended his life because he saw no other solution.’