Elon Musk launches another unprovoked attack on hero cave diver and calls him "a child rapist"

Elon Musk launches another unprovoked attack on hero cave diver and calls him "a child rapist"

Elon Musk has launched another unprovoked attack on a rescue diver who helped to save 12 Thai boys who became stuck in a flooded cave back in July.

In an email to Buzzfeed, the Tesla CEO named Vernon Unsworth "a child rapist" and claimed the diver had married a child bride who "was about 12 years old at the time".

"I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you f**king asshole," the billionaire reportedly wrote. "He’s an old, single white guy from England who’s been travelling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years, mostly Pattaya Beach, until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time."

The 47-year-old also commented on Unworth's warning of a lawsuit, stating: "As for this alleged threat of a lawsuit, which magically appeared when I raised the issue (nothing was sent or raised beforehand), I f**king hope he sues me."

In an interview with The Times, Unsworth called Musk's allegations "100 per cent" untrue and "very hurtful", adding that he is preparing to start legal action imminently against the tycoon.

The British diver's girlfriend has also responded to Musk's allegations, fiercely denying them. In a statement that named Musk's comments "laughable", Woranan Ratrawiphukkun, age 40 reportedly told Thai news website Coconuts: "The news about him being married to a 12-year-old child is laughable. Vern is a kind person. He rarely has an argument with anyone, and everybody loves Vern."

Ratrawiphukkun also stated that she had been dating Unsworth for seven years and lived with him in a home near Chiang Rai in Thailand. "We’ve spent our life together for seven years – he’s a good man and such a gentleman," she said. "He thinks of others before himself. I know what kind of person Vern is. If he wasn’t a good man, we wouldn’t still be together after all these seven years."

Musk first attacked Unsworth back in July after the 63-year-old foreign rescuer questioned the value of his contribution to the Tham Luang cave complex rescue mission - a small submarine that went unused - claiming it was nothing but a "PR stunt".

Naming the diver "pedo guy" in a tweet to his 22 million followers, the billionaire soon came under fire for his baseless accusations.

The businessman - who is worth over $20 billion - apologised afterwards, claiming he had spoken in anger, stating: "His actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader. The fault is mine and mine alone."

In a statement, the diver’s lawyer responded to the fresh attack, calling Musk's comment a "vindictive and vicious lie". L. Lin Wood, who claims to have written to Musk in early August warning him of a possible defamation lawsuit, said: "Elon Musk can tweet his vindictive and vicious lie about Mr Unsworth a hundred times and it will still be a lie."

Wood also noted: "After deleting the initial accusation and tweeting an apology, Mr Musk has continued to republish his false and unsupportable accusation. His conduct demonstrates that his recklessness is intentional and designed to harm Mr Unsworth."