Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Murdered medical student's parents 'haunted' by Borneo ordeal

Published 20/10/2015

Neil Dalton, pictured, and Aidan Brunger were stabbed to death in Sarawak
Neil Dalton, pictured, and Aidan Brunger were stabbed to death in Sarawak

The parents of a medical student stabbed to death in Borneo have said they are "haunted" by the thought of him suffering after he was attacked.

Newcastle University student Neil Dalton, from Ambergate, Derbyshire, was killed along with classmate Aidan Brunger, from Kent, as they made their way home from a night out in Kuching, Sarawak, in Borneo, last August.

The 22-year-olds were working on placement in a nearby hospital and were five minutes' walk away from their hostel when Zulkipli Abdullah, then 23, stabbed Mr Dalton four times and Mr Brunger once. He has been sentenced to death for the murders.

An inquest into their deaths at Derby and Southern Derbyshire Coroner's Court concluded they were unlawfully killed.

In a joint statement by Phil and Janet Dalton, the parents of Neil, which was read to the court, they said their lives were "haunted by the thought of what he went through that night".

They said: "We can look at photos and videos and smell his clothes, but we can't touch him.

"We will miss him coming home, cooking the dinner that he liked, going shopping and the wonderful hugs that he gave.

"Neil intended to go into general practice to help hundreds of people but now this will not happen. He had the chance to impact on lives taken away from him.

"It's both tragic and ironic that had someone else has been stabbed, Neil would have been the first to help them."

Neil and Aidan had gone out for dinner with other friends in Kuching, in the Malaysian part of Borneo, and had then visited a nightclub with friends from university.

On their way home at around 4am, a car approached the two men and a man got out armed with a knife and "quite randomly" started attacking the pair.

A statement from Paul Brunger, Aidan's father, was read to the court in which he paid tribute to a "bright, determined individual".

He said: "I was a proud father and Aidan made it easy to be one.

"As a family, our focus now is to protect each other and to try and gain some positive from the evil that entered our lives.

"I want justice, not revenge, for the murder of my son."

Pathologist Michael Biggs told the court both 22-year-olds suffered "sharp force injuries" and had died from stab wounds.

Mr Brunger was stabbed to the left side of the chest, while Mr Dalton was found to have two stab wounds to the chest and a further two to the back, he said.

When asked by the coroner how long they will have suffered after the attack, Mr Biggs said: "It's impossible to say how long it would take in each individual case.

"It varies from immediate collapse to activity being possible for a number of minutes."

Senior coroner for Derby and Derbyshire Robert Hunter said: "Having listened to evidence ... and the knowledge of criminal proceedings, there's one verdict that I can return in respect of both Aidan Brunger and Neil Dalton, and that is unlawful killing.

"There were great hopes for them as doctors.

"The light that they shine far outweighs the darkness that befell them on August 8. I know you will miss them terribly.

"All the good they did in their short lives will far outweigh what many people do in far longer lives."

In a joint statement made by the families of Mr Dalton and Mr Brunger after the inquest, they said they were "satisfied" with the conclusion.

They added: "The loss of a child is utterly horrific and we still find it hard to believe we will never see our sons again.

"Our sons made us so proud of what they achieved in their too short lives, we loved them very much, and we always will."

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph