The sense of sadness and incomprehensibility surrounding Michael Schumacher’s accident and its aftermath intensified yesterday as the man Swiss police were holding on suspicion of trying to sell the champion’s medical records committed suicide in his cell in Zurich.
The man, whose real name has not been released, was arrested on Tuesday and denied any involvement with the theft of Schumacher’s records.
This followed a sordid tale in which a man, who called himself Kagemusha san, after a character from a Kurosawa film, contacted several leading tabloid papers in Europe offering the records for €50,000.
Some of them, including Bild, tipped the Schumacher family and his manager Sabine Kehm off to the existence of this file and Kehm issued a strong statement saying that they would sue anyone who published its contents.
This left the thief with nowhere to go to sell the file. The net then began to tighten as police found IP data suggesting that the emails sent to the tabloids had come from a computer in the offices of Rega, a Zurich based medical helicopter service, which had been sent the file to provide a proposal for repatriating the injured seven times world champion to Lausanne, from the hospital bed in Grenoble, where he had been since late December.
He sustained a bad head injury in a skiing accident in the French Alps and was in a coma for six months until June.
The man found dead in his cell yesterday morning was an employee of Rega and had been tracked down by Swiss police and taken into custody on Tuesday.
He was being held for further questioning on Wednesday when he hanged himself overnight Tuesday.
There was only a short statement from Sabine Kehm: “We are at a loss for words and deeply shocked.”
Last month Schumacher’s wife Corinna wrote a message to fans in the programme for the German Grand Prix, thanking them for their support and saying that the worst was now behind them in her husband’s long road to recovery.
Since confirming that he had come out of a coma, there has been no further update on his condition or his prospects of recovery.