The parents of a Derbyshire medical student stabbed to death while in Malaysia on a placement have said they are “pleased” after a man was found guilty of murder, but added that the verdict will not bring their son back.
Newcastle University student Neil Dalton (pictured), from Ambergate, along with Aiden Brunger from Kent, were killed in Sarawak on the island of Borneo in August last year.
Zulkipli Abdullah, a 24-year-old fishmonger, was found guilty by a court in Malaysia on Monday.
The two men, both aged 22, had been working at a local hospital in Kuching - an area popular with backpackers.
They were stabbed and killed after an incident in a bistro or cafe in the early hours of the morning, an inquest into their deaths heard last year.
Their fathers positively identified their sons’ remains when they were flown back to the UK.
In a joint statement today Phil and Jan Dalton and Paul Brunger and Sue Hidson paid tribute to their sons, and spoke of the devastation their deaths had caused.
They said: “Since Aidan and Neil were killed on 6 August 2014, our lives have been shattered.
“They were two exceptional young men with such promise - kind, funny and full of life. Their deaths have left their families and many good friends utterly devastated.
“Neil and Aidan were having a wonderful time in Borneo working in Sarawak Hospital and also travelling around seeing as much of the beautiful country as they could. Both boys said how very welcoming and friendly the people were.
“Our sons would soon have qualified as doctors. Their unprovoked and senseless murders as they were walking home after a night out with other medical students mean that Aidan and Neil will never have the chance to spend their lives caring for and helping others.
“They would have given so much to the world. We are so very proud of both of them and in what they achieved in their all too short lives.
“Although we are pleased that the man responsible for their murders has been held accountable, the guilty verdict does not bring our sons back.
“We would like to thank our families, friends and everyone who has helped us through these distressing times. We would ask that we are now left to grieve for Neil and Aidan in peace.”
The families’ British lawyer Kieran Mitchell, from Slater and Gordon, said: “This was a savage and unprovoked attack which lead to the death of two young men who had travelled to Borneo with the sole aim of using their medical skills to help people.
“Since that day the families have put their faith in the Borneo justice system, which is very different to our own, adding further strain and difficulty during this devastating ordeal.
“After a long and complicated trial they are relieved that justice has been done.”