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Friday, 15 November, 2002, 15:20 GMT
Briton faces Singapore murder charge
Singapore skyline
The murders have made headlines in Singapore
A British man looks set to be extradited from Australia to Singapore to face a double murder charge.

Michael McCrea, a financial adviser from Nottingham, is wanted in connection with the murder of his chauffeur and the driver's girlfriend in January this year.

1 Jan 2002: McCrea says he was attacked by Triads who took away Mr Guan
5 Jan: Mr McCrea, with Miss Ong, flies to London for medical treatment
7 Jan: The bodies of Mr Guan and his girlfriend found
29 May: Mr McCrea arrested in Melbourne
15 Nov: Magistrate will give decision in extradition hearing

The 44-year-old has denied responsibility but a magistrates' court in Melbourne ruled on Friday he was eligible for extradition.

Justice Minister Chris Ellison must approve the extradition before McCrea can be returned to Singapore.

Although Australian law prevents extradition to countries with the death penalty, the Singapore authorities have said they will make an exception.

But Mr McCrea's lawyers said they will appeal the decision on the basis there is no guarantee his life will be spared.

The bodies of Kho Nai Guan, 46, and Lan Ya Ming, 30, were found in the chauffeur's Daewoo Chairman in a car park in the Orchard Towers area of Singapore.

Michael McCrea
Michael McCrea wrote to BBC News Online from jail
Mr Kho's body had been stuffed into a wicker basket on the back seat of his own car, while Miss Lan's was in the boot with roses strewn around her.

A romantic note and a champagne glass were also found in the car.

The Singaporean authorities claim both victims were strangled in Mr McCrea's apartment in the exclusive Balmorak Park district.

But Mr McCrea has told friends and journalists the pair were killed by Triad gangsters who also attacked him with a sword and left him for dead.

There have been numerous hangings or executions in Singapore but only three or four people have received commutation or pardon

Erskine Roden
Mr McCrea's solicitor
The British expat subsequently fled, via London, to Melbourne, Australia, where his pregnant wife Brunetta lives with their young child.

Mr McCrea and his assistant, 22-year-old Audrey Ong, were arrested in May this year in connection with passport violations, and the Singapore authorities were notified.

After Friday's decision, Erskine Roden, McCrea's solicitor, cast doubt on Singapore's promise not to execute him.

He said: "We don't know who made the undertaking; we don't know who the person is, whether the person has the authority and whether there were proper procedures."

Foul smell

Miss Ong, who was also wanted in Singapore as an accessory to the murder, consented to her extradition last month. She faces up to seven years in jail if convicted.

The hearing, which began earlier this week, heard an affidavit given to police by a witness, Gemma Ramsbottom.

She said she noticed a foul smell coming from a wicker basket in Mr McCrea's apartment and saw Mr Kho's body inside.

Ms Ramsbottom, a friend of Miss Ong's, told the police Mr McCrea had put a dagger to her throat and warned her not to tell anyone.

She said Mr McCrea was bleeding from his head and hands.

The lawyer, Michelle Gordon, said the Singaporean authorities had evidence that Mr McCrea had admitted beating the pair unconscious with a metal pole after a fight over stolen money.

See also:

01 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
09 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
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