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English Boxer Who Slept Next To Dead Body And Had To Fight His Way Out Of Thai Prison

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English Boxer Who Slept Next To Dead Body And Had To Fight His Way Out Of Thai Prison

When English boxer Billy Moore was arrested in Thailand and put in prison, he slept next to a dead body on his first night behind bars - a story which went on to be told in the 2017 A Prayer Before Dawn.

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Growing up in Liverpool, by the time he was 16-years-old, Moore had fallen into a life of crime with offences related to burglary and drugs which saw him serve his first time behind bars when he was 17.

When he got clean he decided to look abroad for a fresh start, turning to the other side of the world for a new beginning.

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Moore travelled to Thailand in 2005 to make a new life for himself as a boxer and stuntman while teaching English, even working as Sylvester Stallone's stunt double on Rambo IV during this time.

However, getting back into fighting and taking up Muay Thai led to Moore becoming addicted to crystal meth and ya ba, a highly addictive mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine.

The boxer wrote about his incredible story of survival in A Prayer Before Dawn, which was later made into a film of the same name starring Peaky Blinders star Joe Cole.

Boxer Billy Moore alongside actor Joe Cole, who played him in A Prayer Before Dawn. Credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo
Boxer Billy Moore alongside actor Joe Cole, who played him in A Prayer Before Dawn. Credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo
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Jailed for three years after police launched a drugs bust on his apartment, the movie spares no horrific detail about Moore's time in Thai prisons Chiang Mai and Klong Pem.

One such moment depicts Moore's harrowing first night, with the boxer forced to bed down right next to a dead body.

Moore explained that the man had died earlier in the day but since it was a bank holiday nobody came to move the body, leaving him 'just left in there for three days'.

As the film showed, Moore was forced to watch and was, at times himself, subjected to horrific violence.

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He explained that he saw a man get stabbed with a knife that 'was plunged into his body at least 50 times', while inmates infected with HIV would 'threaten you with syringes filled with their blood'.

A Prayer Before Dawn depicts Billy Moore's time in Thai prisons. Credit: A24
A Prayer Before Dawn depicts Billy Moore's time in Thai prisons. Credit: A24

The boxer managed to survive by joining the prison's Muay Thai team where he competed against other prisoners, which got him moved to another cell and also got him out of prison for training at times.

He was 'fighting for food and safety and my mental health', while he was also able to win the respect of other prisoners.

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They called him the 'Crazy Foreigner' because he wouldn't give up during a fight, and Moore said he would have 'gone round the bend' if he hadn't had fighting to give him a focus.

After more than two years behind bars in Thai prisons, Billy returned to the UK where he decided to write about his experiences.

That book was turned into the film, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017 before being more widely released in 2018 to critical praise.

Denied permission to film in the prisons Billy was kept in, the movie was filmed at the decommissioned Nakhon Pathom prison which was turned into a museum in 2014.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@BillyMooreAPBD/A24

Topics: TV and Film, Boxing, Crime

Joe Harker
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