Tribute to Cornish tourist shot dead in Mexico that founded art group Bristol

A family pays tribute to a British tourist who was shot dead while shopping in Mexico. Poet and artist Ben Corser, who has ties to Bristol, was at a supermarket shopping for groceries in Colima when he was murdered on Tuesday, May 24.

The 37-year-old from Cornwall was in the back of a car with two friends outside the shop on Camino Real Boulevard when all three were shot dead. Ben’s parents, former principal Andrew Corser and Lorraine Downes, and his brother Tom Corser, said he was in “the wrong place at the wrong time”.

His mother and father, from St Just, Cornwall, and brother Tom, from Penzance, have issued a statement. They say Ben had lived there since January and “became part of the community”, and that he was murdered along with his two friends.

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They said Ben was born in London but lived in Cornwall from his first birthday, then went to Bristol UWE and later to Birkbeck College in London. He is described as “a founding member of an eclectic group of artists called the Bristol Diving School” and it is hoped that exhibitions of his work will be organized in his memory both in Bristol and Cornwall and online.

Their statement read: “His heartbreaking death came as a shock to all of us, and to each of his many friends across the country and beyond. Ben had a breadth that is rare today: he earned a first-class degree in both fine arts and mathematics, he was an artist, a poet, a computer user, creator, coder and programmer, a skateboarder, a sea swimmer, a wild camper, a festival-goer , an actor, a yoga lover, a photographer, a music maker, a dancer.

“He was a lover of people from the youngest to the oldest, man, woman and child; from animals (especially dogs and cats); of nature, from the cultivated to the wildest; but also the urban environment, graffiti and skyscrapers; and of all art – from the earliest, the most representative, to the most abstract, the newest and the most conceptual.

Ben Corser

“Ben was just so much fun to be with, because he lived in the moment, with everyone (and every dog ​​or cat) he met and who met him, and he was so generous, sharing his joy in life, and everything else he had, with all of us. He seemed to take risks – but that only revealed our own fear – he showed us how he was always within his means.”

They have arranged for his body to be returned to the UK for burial in St Just. They hope to hold his funeral and burial on Midsummer’s Day, June 24, in St. Just, with a wake the following day.

‘We have no explanation’

Referring to what happened, their statement stated: “Ben has been in Mexico since January 2022, where he had a very happy and social time, living in different parts of Mexico, becoming part of the community and also traveling around a bit.

Recently Ben lived with a Mexican-American family near the town of Colima; two of the young men in the household (Claudio and Alfredo) were skateboarders and Ben went skating with them. On Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022, Ben and Claudio will return by bus from Guadalajara and Alfredo will pick them up in the car.

“They went along the main boulevard in Colima and stopped at a supermarket to get some food for Mom. While they were in the car, outside the supermarket, all three young men, including Ben in the back seat, were shot and killed.

“We have had no explanation, no reasons given, no suggestion of theft, kidnapping or anything else. No doubt the police will eventually end their investigation and tell us what they think happened – there had been a dramatic upsurge in the past few years in Colima for weeks, although this was not aimed at tourists at all.

“It is very likely that this was a matter of Ben (and Claudio and Alfredo) being tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thank you for all your sweet expressions of regret and support, and all the offers of help – St Just, Ben’s large network of friends, has provided vital comfort to the family during this terrible time of grief. Thank you.”

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