Singapore executes Briton for murder

John Martin Scripps, 35, today became the first Westerner to hang for murder in Singapore. Scripps, from Letchworth, Hertfordshire, was found guilty last November of killing Gerard Lowe, a South African who he befriended on arrival at the island state's airport.

Mr Lowe's body was surgically dissected, using butchery skills Scripps acquired in the Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight. Although not on trial for any other murders, the Singapore court heard that the shy-looking Scripps had also murdered and chopped up the bodies of a mother and son on the Thai resort island of Phuket.

Scripps pleaded innocent to murder and spent days in the witness box giving an unconvincing account of his innocence. However, contrary to expectation, he made no appeal against his sentence nor sought clemency from the president of Singapore. His family also had the option to appeal on his behalf but did not do so.

The dawn execution took place at the Changi jail, very close to the airport where Scripps picked up his victim. Executions are held every week, on Fridays. Few are for crimes of violence, most of those hanged are drug traffickers.

Scripp's route to the gallows followed a life of petty crime, mainly drug dealing, which took him across the world, often to the heroin growing areas of northern Thailand and also to Mexico where he tried to patch up a failed marriage with his Mexican wife. He was also a suspect in the murder of a Briton visitor to a holiday resort in Mexico.

Most of the evidence at Scripps' trial was provided by himself as he carefully carried the murder weapon and the belongings of his victims from Singapore to Thailand and back to Singapore again.

Although Scripps often appeared be both naive and foolish during his trial, he demonstrated considerable ingenuity in selecting victims whose whereabouts would be unlikely to be noticed for some time and who were likely to be carrying reasonably large sums of money. He stole both cash and credit cards from the people he killed.

On the night he murdered Mr Lowe he coolly treated himself to a steak dinner in the coffee shop of the restaurant of the hotel where the murder took place, booked tickets for a classical concert given by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and later spent some time in the room where he killed his victim, looking over notebook computers with a salesman from a local shop hoping to selling him a number of models.

At the time of the murders Scripps had absconded from prison in Britain after failing to return after being granted home leave. His mother, Jean Scripps, said she warned the Home Office that her son would abscond if he was let out. She attended the early stages of his trial but left before the end.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
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

Primary Supply Teacher - Loughborough

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Teacher looking fo...

Primary General Cover Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teacher lo...

Part Time Primary Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...

Science Technician

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week