Phuket bar owner confesses to brutally killing girlfriend

Paul Chetwynd-Talbot and Debra O'Hanlon.
PHUKET, Thailand (8 Aug 2005)
-- A man has confessed to brutally killing his British girlfriend on the Thai resort island of Phuket and said he slashed his wrist afterward out of guilt, police have said.

Briton Paul Chetwynd-Talbot, 32, was hospitalized with serious wounds from his apparent suicide attempt but will be charged with the premeditated murder of Debra O'Hanlon, 31, as soon he has recovered sufficiently, police said.

He turned himself in to police Wednesday night with his injury unbandaged and badly infected, and was later admitted to the hospital, suffering from extensive blood loss, police said.

The couple were seen having a heated quarrel a few days before the battered body of O'Hanlon was found Tuesday in the guesthouse room she had been renting, police said.

O'Hanlon had a broken neck, stab wounds in the back of her head, and bruises all over her face and body, said police Col. Theeraphol Thipchareon, who added that it appeared she had struggled with her attacker.

The couple used to operate a bar in Phuket, a popular beach destination for Western travelers, but their business collapsed after December's Indian Ocean tsunami hit the area, killing thousands of people and crippling the tourist trade, police said.

The couple then returned to England, but Chetwynd-Talbot returned to Phuket in May to rebuild his business and O'Hanlon joined him last month, police said.

According to O'Hanlon's passport, she was born in Northampton. A copy of Chetwynd-Talbot's passport, found in the victim's room, showed that he was born in Bristol in 1973, Padungpong said.

Murder suspect Christmas in jail
13 December 2005

Paul Chetwynd-Talbot and Debra O'Hanlon.
THE ex-boyfriend of a teacher killed in Thailand will spend Christmas in jail waiting to be tried for her murder.

Paul Chetwynd-Talbot, 32, is charged with the murder of Kettering teacher Debra O'Hanlon in August.

He claims he killed Miss O'Hanlon by accident after the pair became involved in a drunken row on the holiday island of Phuket.

Police on the island told the Phuket Provincial Court that, based on their case file, Chetwynd-Talbot should be charged with murder.

Chetwynd-Talbot has not been granted bail after the family of Miss O'Hanlon wrote to Thai police opposing his release.

He will next appear in court on Monday, February 20, at a hearing for the court to decide which witnesses will be called to give evidence during the trial and when they will appear.

Miss O'Hanlon's mother, Pat, thanked police in Thailand for their support but said it was difficult being so far away from proceedings.

She said: "The police in Thailand were exceedingly helpful and gave us a great deal of their time when we were out there.

"We have spoken to them twice since we have been back.

"It is frustrating that we are not there but the most important thing is that he pays for what he did."

Miss O'Hanlon, 31, of Blenheim Way, Kettering, had worked at Woodnewton Junior School, Corby, and King's Cliffe School, near Oundle, and had been due to start as deputy head at Wollaston Primary School.

Boyfriend held over murder at island resort
By Sebastien Berger in Bangkok and Nick Britten
(Filed: 04/08/2005)

A former public schoolboy was being held by police in Thailand last night over the murder of a primary school teacher on the island resort of Phuket.

After a 24-hour search, police found Paul Chetwynd-Talbot covered in blood after he had slashed his wrists in an apparent suicide attempt.

The manhunt began in the early hours of Tuesday after the battered body of Debra O'Hanlon, 31, was discovered in a guest house in Patong, which was devastated in last year's tsunami.

She had a broken neck and bruises all over her face and body. Police immediately issued an arrest warrant for Chetwynd-Talbot, also 31, who had been her boyfriend and was believed to be the last person to see her alive.

He was taken into custody shortly before midnight local time yesterday and immediately taken to hospital.

Police refused to say under what circumstances, or where, he was found.

The couple used to run the Red or Dead bar in Patong. However, the business collapsed after the tsunami and Miss O'Hanlon returned to work in Britain.

She flew back to Thailand on Saturday, her birthday, in an attempt to bring Chetwynd-Talbot back to England.

But he refused. In the hours before the murder, the couple were heard arguing noisily in the guest house where Miss O'Hanlon was staying.

They failed to turn up for a barbecue with friends on Sunday, who alerted the police when they still could not contact them the following day. Miss O'Hanlon's body was found at 2am on Tuesday.

Suwit Othong, a police colonel, said: "There was blood all over the room and hand prints made in blood on the walls, a towel, and a wash basin. Her money and credit cards have gone."

Two return tickets to England for August 2 were found in her luggage.

The officer heading the investigation, Captain Padungpong Dukesukkhaen, added: "She tried to convince him to go back and stay together in England. The body was found beaten to death. We didn't find wounds from any weapons. An autopsy showed she had a broken neck, jaw, and occipital bone."

Officers believe that Miss O'Hanlon put up a fierce struggle for her life, and could have been killed up to 24 hours before being found at the Ericsson guest house.

The couple's business had been in the heart of Patong's red light district.

It went under when the tourist trade collapsed following the tsunami.

They flew back to England and Miss O'Hanlon got a job as a primary school teacher at Kings Cliffe Endowed School in Peterborough, Cambs.

She was due to start work soon as the deputy head of Wollaston School in Wellingborough, Northants. However, Chetwynd-Talbot returned to Thailand within a month.

According to friends he took a job as a short-order cook in a diner called Fat Boy, met a Thai girlfriend and fell into debt.

One expatriate, who did not want to be named, said: "Debs had been out here this year and she gave him some time to sort himself out.

"She was completely besotted with him. She arrived on her 31st birthday. They were all over each other."

Immigration authorities say there is no trace of him leaving the country and police said they found his passport in Miss O'Hanlon's room.

Miss O'Hanlon's father, Malcolm, from Wellingborough, Northants, said yesterday that he doubted Chetwynd-Talbot would ever return to Britain.

Her neighbours in Kettering said she was "always happy and jolly".

One said: "She was in Thailand when the tsunami hit but I didn't know she had gone back.

"She was such a nice girl, very bubbly, and a really nice neighbour. She said she had got this new job and was quite excited."

Rachel Dempster, the head teacher at Kings Cliffe Endowed School and the former deputy head teacher at Woodnewton Junior School, said: "Debra was a talented, powerful and gifted teacher.

"She had everything to live for. She had worked for me since Easter at Kings Cliffe, and was a very committed, dedicated teacher who will be very sadly missed."

A spokesman from Northamptonshire county council said: "We are all deeply shocked and saddened to hear of Debra's death.

"Debra was highly regarded for the work she did as a teacher in Northamptonshire.

"We were looking forward to Debra taking up her new post in September. At this terrible time all our thoughts are with her family and friends."

A spokesman for the British embassy in Bangkok would not comment on the circumstances surrounding her death. He said: "We are in contact with the Thai authorities but we cannot confirm details of the ongoing police investigation."

British man gives himself up to Thai police
A British man wanted in connection with the murder of his girlfriend in southern Thailand has given himself up to police.

Police in the Thai resort island of Phuket have named the man as Paul Chetwynd Talbot.

His 31-year-old girlfriend's battered body was found earlier this week at a guesthouse on the island where the couple was staying.

Police say the investigation is continuing and it could be some weeks before the case comes to court.

Talbot to be tried for murder

Police press for Talbot to be tried for murder

PHUKET CITY: Kathu Police today turned over to the Provincial Public Prosecutor's Office the case file on Paul Chetwynd-Talbot, who stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, fellow Briton Debra O'Hanlon, on July 31.

Chetwynd-Talbot has been held in custody since he surrendered at the Kathu Police Station on the evening of August 3 and confessed to killing 31-year-old Ms O'Hanlon.

Chetwynd-Talbot, 32, told the Gazette from a police cell after his arrest that the killing was unintentional. He said that, during a drunken argument, he threw Ms O'Hanlon onto the bed in the couples' room at the Eric Guesthouse on Nanai Rd, accidentally breaking her neck and killing her. Her body was discovered the following day.

Pol Col Teeraphol Thipjaroen, Superintendent of Kathu Police Station, told the Gazette, "When he was first arrested, he confessed to hav ing killed Ms O'Hanlon. But on the advice of his lawyer, he has refused to comment further during the police investigation, saying he would prefer to speak only before the court."

Col Teeraphol said that police have recommended Chetwynd-Talbot be tried for murder, basing their case on evidence from fingerprints, interviews with friends of the couple, and Chetwynd-Talbot's personal diary.

"Ms O'Hanlon's family urged us not to allow Talbot out on bail, and we have already passed this recommendation along to the Court," he added.

Col Teeraphol said he expects Chetwynd-Talbot to appear before the Phuket Provincial Court within a week, after which time it will be up to the Public Prosecutor to consider all the evidence and decide on the specific charges to be laid.

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