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Four admit killing British students

Four men arrested over the murder of two British medical students who were stabbed in Borneo after a row in a bar have admitted the crime, a police chief has said.

The local men have been detained over the killing of Newcastle University Medical School students Neil Dalton and Aidan Brunger, who were on the Malaysian part of the island on attachment to a hospital in Kuching.

The attack happened in the Jalan Padungan area of Kuching in Sarawak province, in the west of the Malaysian part of Borneo.

Deputy police commissioner Chai Khin Chung said they had now finished their investigation, as the men confessed, and they would now be passing on their evidence for prosecution.

"We have finished our investigation, the crime has been solved," he said.

"The suspects have been apprehended and they have admitted the crime. We have recovered the weapons from the crime.

"We are waiting for the corpses in the hospital mortuary to have the post-mortem carried out. We have all the major evidence in our hands which we will send to the prosecution."

He said the two students had got into an argument with the men on the table next to them in the bar and after leaving on foot, they were followed by car and then attacked from behind.

"They were having a drink and got into an argument with the next table. After a prolonged argument they left the bar on foot and were followed in a car. They came from behind and stabbed them", he said.

"The four people, who are local men, will be charged with murder. It's very unusual for Kuching, it's always very peaceful.

"It's very unfortunate and we were very surprised this kind of thing happened in our city."

Malaysia's The Star newspaper has said the main suspect is a 23-year-old fishmonger, one a 29-year-old mechanic, the others 19 and 35 and both unemployed. Two are said to have previous convictions for drugs and armed robbery.

It has been reported that two Irish medical students were assaulted just days before the stabbings.

The hospital where Mr Dalton and Mr Brunger had been working before being stabbed to death in Borneo is providing counselling to other students since the tragedy.

Sawatar Hospital medical director Dr Chin Zin Hing said the deaths of the two men, who finished their elective with the hospital at the end of last month, was "very sad".

He said: "We are trying to provide counselling for the students here. We currently have about 20 British elective students."

He said the hospital is also working closely with the British Embassy to "see how best we can provide some assistance to the families of the men".

Professor Jane Calvert, Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Newcastle University Medical School, said the fourth-year students were "highly committed" and were both doing well in their studies.

She said: "We are all so shocked and saddened by this.

"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 devastated families were too upset to speak but neighbours and their university paid tribute to the men.

Mr Brunger's family, who live in Kent, issued a photograph of the student dressed in a white doctor's coat outside Sarawak General Hospital.

Mr Dalton's family declined to speak to reporters as friends and relatives gathered at their home in Ambergate, Derbyshire.

One of the Daltons' neighbours, a 50-year-old woman who did not want to be named whose daughter went to school with him in Belper, Derbyshire, said: "He was just a lovely boy. Totally self-motivated. Always jogging and studying.

"I used to call him Mr Biscuit because of his ginger hair. When he went off to do medicine I called him Dr Biscuit."

Mr Dalton's former teacher at Belper School, where he was a pupil from 2003 until 2010, praised the student as "one of the nicest, most considerate and genuine people you could ever meet".

Swerupa Gosrani said the young man had been a pleasure to teach, adding that "more than Neil's many academic and other achievements, I remember his character".

She said: "Neil was liked by all who knew him, and got on with everyone.

"An exceptional, talented and able student, he was nonetheless modest and unassuming about it all. Without doubt, we have lost a fine individual."

The school's head of sixth form, Paul Brumby, also paid tribute to "academically-gifted, creative and highly motivated" Mr Dalton.

"He was popular with both students and staff and never gave anything less than his best, throwing himself fully into all aspects of school life and always the first to volunteer," he said.

"Neil's positive attitude and sense of fun and enjoyment made him a role model for his peers.

"He was good company, had a wry sense of humour and was a pleasure to know. Our thoughts are with his family."

Headteacher Martyn Cooper said Mr Dalton, who was a keen sportsman and took part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, was "fondly remembered by his teachers and fellow pupils".

Mr Cooper said his death had left the school's community "shocked and saddened".

Newcastle University said they had sent two members of staff out to Kuching to offer support to the students still out there and to help the authorities.

Professor Calvert said: "We have been in touch with the students who are still in Kuching, in constant touch really, overnight there have been emails going back and forward to try and offer what support we could until our staff could get there.

"We now have two members of staff who have arrived in Kuching, they have met up with the students and are trying to smooth the way with the authorities to make things as easy as possible so they can do what has to be done and then get back home again.

"Of course they're very, very upset, medical students are a close community anyway and they were out there with friends and colleagues from their course and it's such a tragic thing to have happened.

"They're very upset but we're confident the people we have out there are offering them every support and just hope we can get them back soon."

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