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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Briton 'admits' Vietnam murder
Duc Diem Peter Dao
Victim Monsignor Peter Dao fled Vietnam in 1979
A Briton could be shot by a firing squad after reportedly admitting cutting a UK priest's throat in Vietnam.

Vietnamese police say Christopher Thanh Doan admitted murdering Monsignor Peter Dao Duc Diem after they confronted him with evidence of the crime.

Officers said he admitted throwing the 63-year-old's bloodstained clothes and a knife into the Perfumed River, in the central city of Hue.

Mr Dao, also known as Father Peter, was found dead in his bedroom at the Truong Giang Hotel in Hue on 25 January.

Consular assistance

He had been stabbed in the neck several times, a member of the hotel staff told Associated Press at the time.

British consular officials are liaising with Vietnamese authorities in the city.

Mr Dao and Mr Doan, 27, were believed to have travelled together to their home country which they were visiting for the first time since fleeing after the Vietnam war.

It is thought they had gone there to celebrate Tet - the lunar New Year, which is a major festival in Vietnam.

'Outstanding chaplain'

Mr Dao, who was ordained nearly 34 years ago, was a senior figure in the Vietnamese Catholic community.

He came to England as a refugee in 1979 and settled in Birmingham, where the first Vietnamese pastoral centre was established.

At the time of his death he worked at the Vietnamese Church in the East End of London.

He had escaped Vietnam by sea as one of the "boat people", after making 14 attempts to leave.

Archbishop of Birmingham the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, who celebrated a Requiem Mass for Dao at St Francis church, Handsworth, said he was deeply disturbed by the death of the "outstanding chaplain".


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