river view hotel

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The Tourist from hell:

John Martin Scripps, dubbed by the media as “The tourist from hell”, was an English-born spree killer executed in Singapore for his crimes in 1996.

Following the suicide of his father, Scripps began to have difficulties in school. He eventually dropped out at the age of 15 and went on to work various jobs in order to raise funds for traveling. He went on to murder three tourists while on his trips between Thailand and Singapore in the mid 90’s.

He murdered a man by the name of Gerard Lowe in Singapore, as well as a woman named Shelia Demude and her son Darin in Thailand.

Scripps had a history of previous arrests on his record, rewarded to him as a result of the various burglaries he committed along with one count of indecent assault in the 70’s.

He was eventually imprisoned for three years in the 80’s while traveling in Mexico with a woman he had married, on account of similar crimes. Only months before completing his sentence, he escaped only to burgle again and was sentenced to another three years, causing upset in his marriage.

His wife finally divorced him and remarried. However Scripps harassed her new husband upon his release.

Having done his time in prison and been released, Scripps officially changed his name to John Martin by deed poll.He began running heroin for a syndicate between Asia and Europe in the late 80’s and was apprehended at Heathrow airport, where the arresting officers found he was carrying a key on him. It was discovered that they key opened a deposit box in a bank in Singapore, and contained one million dollars’ worth of heroin. Scripps was once again put behind bars where he was sentenced to seven years. He escaped again, was caught, and true to form, escaped once more.

Eventually he found himself locked up at Albany on the Isle of Wight where he learned the butchering skills that he would later use to dismember his victims.

After transferring to another prison, he escaped for the last time. His mother, having sold all of his possessions, handed over the money in order for Scripps to travel overseas to evade being arrested again. He applied for another passport, using the documents of another inmate named Simon James Davis, and ended up in Mexico again as John Martin, where he reported his passport missing to the British Embassy and got a replacement. 

From there travelled to Singapore via San Francisco. The date was March 8th, 1995.Despite the official report that Scripps murdered three people, it is speculated that he murdered many more in the USA and Mexico.

His technique would be to act like a tourist, strike up conversations with other white tourists in airports or aboard planes, and follow them to their accommodation. He would stay in the same hotels and get himself into their rooms under on pretext or another and shock them with an electroshock weapon, before hitting them over the heads and dismembering their bodoes in hotel bathrooms, using the butchering skills he had picked up in prison.

The motive was most likely money, as withdrawals for large sums of money on the victims credit cards were made after their murders.

Scripps murdered a South African man named Gerard Lowe in a hotel room they were sharing in Singapore. Posing as a tourist at the airport and using an assumed name, Scripps suggested they share a hotel room and Lowe agreed. They rented room 1511 at the River view hotel.

Later, Scripps went to the reception desk and asked the receptionist to erase Lowe’s name, claiming that he had kicked him out as he found out Lowe was a homosexual.Two days later the dismembered limbs of Gerard Lowe washed up at Clifford Pier, including his thighs and torso. His head and arms, however, were never located.

A couple of days later, on the 15th, Scripps took a flight to Thailand, where he made the acquaintance of mother and son Sheila and Darin Damude. The three were seated in the same row and again checked into the same hotel, Nilly’s Marina Inn, overlooking Patpong beach. They checked into rooms on the same floor, opposite each other, with Scripps in room 48 and the Damudes in 43.

The Damudes were never seen alive again following their breakfast the next morning.

Scripps informed the hotel that they had checked out already, and that he wanted to transfer to room 43 where he would pick up the bill.

He took a flight back to Singapore on the 19th, the very same day the skulls of the mother and son were discovered. Other body parts were discovered over the following day’s most likely belonging to Sheila, but the remains of Darin were never recovered.

Many victims linked to Scripps remained unconfirmed. He is thought to have murdered people in London and Mexico as well as in the United States. Large withdrawals from the banks of the victims in Scripps name were made after their deaths and disappearances heavily indicating his responsibility.

Upon arrest the tourist from hell managed to smash a glass panel in the police interview room and attempted to take his life with a shard of the broken glass in fear of the death penalty. The attempt was failed and he later recovered in hospital. The investigators found the passports of the victims in Scripps possession, each one with a passport photograph of him affixed to it. They also recovered the stolen credit cards along with a haul of weapons including the electroshock device, a hammer, a can of mace and knives.

Scripps denied the murders during his trial. He claimed to have killed Lowe in self-defense while “fighting off the homosexual advances "and that a friend helped him dispose of the body. He went to say that he could not name this friend for fear of the safety of his family back in England.

He claimed never to have met the Damudes and that the same friend whom could not be named, had in fact murdered them and then given the credit cards, passports and weapons to Scripps.

He was sentenced to death by hanging