Accused Briton fears drug gang will kill family

STEPHEN VINES

Singapore

John Martin Scripps, the 35-year-old Briton accused of murdering a South African and two Canadians, gave evidence for the first time yesterday in Singapore's Supreme Court.

He claimed that members of his family could be killed by a drugs gang if he revealed the name of an accomplice who, he alleges, disposed of the body of his South African victim.

Mr Scripps, who is also known as John Martin, admitted that he killed Gerard George Lowe, 32, a South African brewery employee who was holidaying in Singapore. However, he claimed that Mr Lowe's body was "disarticulated" by an unnamed British "friend" who he said was an associate from the past when he "was doing drugs".

He claimed he would be labelled as a "grass" if he named the man, who he alleges is involved in a number of criminal activities and was supposed to have helped him buy clothes for a shop that he was opening in Mexico.

Speaking hesitantly, and barely audible, Mr Scripps told the court: "I know what these people are capable of. I just can't give the person's name. It's my life or my family's. I suppose it will have to be mine."

His lawyer, Edmond Pereira, is trying to establish that Mr Lowe's murder was unpremeditated. Mr Scripps has denied killing two Canadians - Sheila Damude, 49, and her son Darin, 23 - in the Thai resort of Phuket. However, yesterday he admitted - for the first time - that he had met the couple and shared a taxi with them from the airport to the hotel where he occupied an adjacent room and, after they disappeared, moved into their room.

The court has heard evidence that the bodies of the Damudes were expertly chopped up, as was the body of Mr Lowe. A British witness has also testified how he taught butchery skills to Mr Scripps while he was in prison.

However, Mr Scripps said: "I didn't cut the body up. I've worked in a butcher's but this is totally different."

He claims that he accidentally killed Mr Lowe with a 3.3lb hammer after he woke up to find the South African touching his backside and smiling at him. The two men had met at Singapore's international airport and Mr Scripps said he agreed to share a hotel room with him because accommodation was hard to obtain and he wanted to save money. "I just freaked out," he said. "I've had experience of such things in the past and I was very frightened."

He claimed that an Israeli soldier tried to rape him while he was in an Israeli prison in 1978 for non-payment of a fine. Mr Scripps also said that two men attempted to rape him in prison in Britain last year while he was taking a shower. "I tried to fight. I locked myself in my cell for a couple of days after," he said. "I'm not gay, I don't believe in that sort of thing."

Mr Lowe's widow has testified that her husband is not gay. The trial continues.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Foundation Phase Teacher required

£90 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Exciting opputunities availabl...

Learning Support Assistant

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Learning Support Assistant - Newport

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Operations Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently recruiting for an Operati...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz