Mother to see `murder' Briton

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The Independent Online
Singapore (AP) - An escaped British convict accused of killing a South African tourist was shifted from a psychiatric ward to a police cell yesterday, and a court recommended that his mother be allowed to visit him.

The court also gave police one more week to investigate John Martin Scripps, arrested on 19 March for the murder of Gerard George Lowe, a 32-year-old businessman from Johannesburg. Police suspect Lowe was hacked to death and dumped in the sea in plastic bags.

Body parts were found last month, days after Lowe went missing on the night of 8-9 March, and police are trying to match his blood type.

Meanwhile, Canadian and Thai authorities are checking if there is a link between Lowe's murder and the killings of a Canadian woman and her son last month while touring Thailand. Mr Scripps, 25, is also being investigated in connection with unsolved murders in Mexico and San Francisco.

Mr Scripps was in the psychiatric ward of the Changi prison but yesterday Judge S Thyagarajan allowed a transfer to Criminal Investigation Department headquarters. He allegedly befriended Lowe in Singapore and they checked into a hotel. He is also accused of forging Lowe's signature on credit- card transactions worth £2,750.

The prosecution will reappear in court on 24 April to say if they want to detain Mr Scripps further or proceed with trial formalities, said his lawyer, who declined to say how his client would plead. Mr Scripps was serving a 13-year sentence in Britain for heroin trafficking when he failed to return from a weekend pass in October.