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The BBC's Wyre Davies
"Passers-by tried to intervene"
 real 28k

Det Supt Des James, Gwent CID
"It's nothing short of dreadful and it has had an effect on some of the officers dealing with the case"
 real 28k

Thursday, 15 June, 2000, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
'Racist' murder inquiry continues
Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport
The attack took place near the Royal Gwent Hospital
Police have been given another 24 hours to question four suspects in a murder inquiry in south east Wales.

Gwent Police are treating the death of Jan Marthin Pasalbessi, 48, as racially motivated.

Mr Pasalbessi rescued his step-daughter from a racist street attack and was later battered to death in front of her at the hospital where they had gone to get treatment.

Indonesian-born Mr Pasalbessi, had taken his white 14-year-old step-daughter Christina to the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport for treatment after she received a cut to her face during a confrontation with neighbours.

Royal Gwent Hospital
The skirmish spilled onto the road outside

Detective Superintendent Des James, who is leading the inquiry, said when the pair reached the hospital on Monday evening they met a relative of one of the people who had attacked Christina.

Police said the man, aged 21, was at the accident and emergency unit in connection with an unrelated injury.

A row soon followed and spilled outside.

Mr Pasalbessi - who had been unemployed since the death of his wife in 1995 - was attacked in the grounds of the hospital and died as a result of his injuries.

Christina is being looked after by specially trained police officers.

Mr Pasalbessi's family are travelling from Holland and are expected to arrive in Newport on Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Martin Baker
Chief Superintendent Martin Baker: Review

The results of a post mortem examination are expected on Wednesday afternoon.

Detective Superintendent James said: "It is an absolutely dreadful event.

"The assault on Mr Pasalbessi given the circumstances, given the racial element, is unbelievable.

"We are talking about a hospital where people have gone to be treated. A place of tranquillity and peace and we have got this form of attack."

Police said that they had only recently moved to the home after being moved from another area of the Newport because of racial abuse.

He said he was treating the earlier incident outside the family's home in the Pill area of the town and the attack at the hospital as being racially motivated.

Pill in Newport
Christina Pasalbessi was attacked outside her home

Chief Superintendent Martin Baker, of Gwent Police said inquiries were being carried out.

"We will now of course, review everything that we did in connection with Mr Pasalbessi and his family to see if there was anything more we could have done," he said.

Two youths aged 15 and 17, a 21-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman are currently helping police with their inquiries in connection with the incident.

A fifth person who was arrested after the attack has been released.

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