Hotel receptionist Attila Ban jailed over workmate killings


A hotel receptionist was jailed for a minimum of 26 years today after claiming he did not know why he killed two young workmates.

Attila Ban, 32, was given two life sentences at the Old Bailey after being found guilty of murdering fellow receptionists Tibor Vass and Alice Adams, both 20.

Both had been stabbed in Ban's flat at the Heathrow hotel where they all worked in August, last year.

Police were called after Ban updated his Facebook wall saying: "I would like to wake up from this nightmare" and all three failed to turn up for work.

Ban was found after two days hiding under a bed where Mr Vass's body had been laid.

The Hungarian, voted employee of the year in 2010 at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, had cut his way out of the divan and attempted to kill himself.

He was found lying on another bed in the room after the body of Mr Vass had been removed.

Richard Whittam, QC, prosecuting, said: "It became apparent that he had been hiding in the divan base of the double bed.

"He must have been there throughout the attendance of the pathologist, the removal of the bodies and the examination of the scene by crime-scene examiners."

The mothers of both victims begged Ban to tell them what happened after he was found guilty of the murders last month.

But today, Michael Birnbaum, QC, for Ban, said: "This remains a baffling case. The two people he killed were his friends.

"He killed them both for reasons which remain obscure. He genuinely cannot remember what triggered the killings."

Doctors had suggested that openly gay Ban may have harboured an infatuation for Mr Vass who may have been starting a relationship with Miss Adams.

Judge Gerald Gordon told Ban he had killed "two decent, innocent 20-year-olds".

He said the victims had been killed "extremely violently" with Miss Adams suffering 22 stab wounds and Mr Vass two stab wounds.

Judge Gordon added: "Exactly what happened will probably never be known. That creates an even greater burden for the two grieving families."

He said it may have been a combination of Mr Vass's imminent departure to university and some sexual contact at the after work party, which drove Ban to kill.

Outside court, Detective Inspector John Finch said police were not negligent in not looking under the bed.

"I would not want anyone to do anything differently in the future," he said.