Irish medics beaten up in bar just days before British student murders
Published 07/08/2014 | 10:27
The murders of two young British medics came just days after two Irish medics were attacked and beaten up in a bar in Kuching, Malaysia.
The beatings prompted staff at the teaching hospital to warn all visiting students to be on their guard while socialising in an area which is popular with backpackers.
Neil Dalton (23) and Aidan Brunger (22), who were in their fourth year studying medicine at Newcastle University, had been out celebrating the completion of a six-week stint at Sarawack General Hospital in Kuching when they were attacked by a group of locals who objected to them singing in a late night bar.
The pair, who were described as brilliant students with glittering futures ahead of them, were chased by the gang, who stabbed them multiple times and then and left them to die in the street just yards apart.
It has since been reported that the gang who stabbed the two students to death were 'high on Crystal Meth' at the time of the killing, The Telegraph reports.
The men, who were arrested soon after the incident, have admitted to the crime, the paper reports.
Mr Dalton who has an older brother, grew up in Belper in Derbyshire where he attended the local school, achieving four A* grades at A –Level.
Friends described him as a “true gentleman” who had always dreamed of becoming a doctor.
His former headmaster Martyn Cooper said the whole community was saddened by the news of his tragic death.
He said: “Neil was always a fully engaged and promising student, whose decision to enter the medical profession was encouraged by Belper School.
“Our memories of him are of a vibrant and interested young man, who enjoyed his studies and made contributions to many events. He was a particularly-able mathematician, winning several awards during his school years.”
His parents were too upset to comment, but a family friend and neighbour described him as “very bright and self-motivated” young man who had the world at his feet.
Sue Barltey, 50, said: “While other kids might be lying in bed he was always up early doing something sporty. He had always said that he wanted to be a doctor, and he studied very hard.
“He was a true gentleman. If he saw me on a night out in Belper, he would offer to walk me home. When he did that, he always saw me safely to my door. He was a big part of the local community. It is a terrible, terrible loss."
Mr Brunger from Gillingham in Kent was a pupil at Rainham Mark Grammar School before winning a place at Newcastle University to study medicine.
His mother and step-father still live in Gillingham, but his father and step-mother moved to Alnwick in Northumberland.
Both parents were too upset to comment, but a neighbour in Gillingham described him as a “lovely” young man with a close and loving family.
The pair played football together for Newcastle University Medics and were in Borneo with five other students from their course.
Professor Jane Calvert, Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Newcastle University Medical School, described them as "excellent" and "highly committed" students.
She said: “They were doing what thousands of medical students do every year, they were on an elective to experience clinical practice in a different setting, to learn from that and enhance their practice when they came back.
“They were excellent students, they were doing really well with their studies, they were highly committed and coming back next year to work as doctors.
"Aidan was aspiring to do some medical research on his return, Neil was going straight into his final year and it's such a tragic thing to occur."
Their murders came just days after two Irish medics were attacked and beaten up in a bar, prompting staff at the teaching hospital to warn all visiting students to be on their guard while socialising in an area which is popular with backpackers.
The pair had been part of a large group of overseas students based at the hospital, who had arranged a night out in the Travillion pub in the Jalan Padungan area of the city.
Many of those gathered were coming to the end of their placement and were preparing to return home or head off to do some travelling for the remainder of the summer.
When the pub closed in the early hours a smaller group of students who were not ready to turn in, headed on to an after-hours bar where a gang of locals were also drinking.
According to staff at the bistro, a row erupted between the two groups, when the locals accused the students of being too boisterous.
Shortly before 4.15am the British pair decided to head home but as they left the bar they were followed by the gang, who stabbed them in a frenzied attack before fleeing in a car.
Staff from the bar rushed to the aid of the stricken pair, but despite medical attention, they were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Within hours police had detained four local men, three Malaysians and one Chinese on suspicion of murder.
Sources said the four all had previous convictions for drug dealing, gang violence and armed robbery and may have even been on drugs at the time of the attack.
Fellow interns at Sarawack Hospital expressed their shock and distress at hearing the news of the brutal murders and they were offered counselling.
A 29-year-old mechanic, a 23-year-old fishmonger and two unemployed men aged 35 and 19 have been remanded in custody in connection with the murder.
State acting deputy police commissioner Datuk Dr Chai Khin Chung, insisted the attack had been random and stressed that the city’s bars were still safe for foreigners.