- Reece Vella was arrested after the death of prostitute Wannipa Janhuathon
- Family say he suffered from PTSD from his time serving in the British Army
- The 25-year-old, from Birmingham, was detained in Pattaya, Thailand, on Sunday
- Wannipa, 26, fell to her death from hotel balcony in notorious resort on Saturday
- Vella was a private in the Royal Logistics Corps, headquartered at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey, until he left nearly five years ago
Published: 02:47 EST, 8 January 2018 | Updated: 12:11 EST, 8 January 2018
Arrested British tourist Reece Vella served as a private in the Royal Logistics Corps, headquartered at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey, until he left nearly five years ago
The British soldier arrested after a prostitute fell to her death as they had 'strange, extravagant' sex on a balcony had left Britain months earlier after suffering from PTSD, his family have said.
Reece Vella, from Worcester, was arrested on Sunday afternoon after bar girl Wannipa Janhuathon, 26, fell to her death in the early hours of Saturday in Pattaya,Thailand.
Reece's family said they were 'extremely upset' following his arrest in Thailand.
They were concerned for his health, revealing the 25-year-old had not had anything to eat or drink since he was taken into custody.
The former soldier, who followed his two older brothers into the military, quit the army after suffering from PTSD.
Vella served as a private in the Royal Logistics Corps, headquartered at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey, until he left nearly five years ago. During his service, his brother Andrayoss claimed he was one of the top 100 shots in the British Army.
His brother said after leaving the army, he suffered with depression and 'fell into the wrong crowd', serving a stint in prison.
Reece was briefly allowed to make contact with his family on Monday and, according to Andrayoss, said he was being asked for £12,000 to ensure he is given food and water.
Reece also claimed he did not steal a motorcycle, as the police claimed, but that he had hired it and was due to return it on the day he was arrested.
Andrayoss said: 'I was able to speak to him very briefly. He obviously very stressed. The authorities are going to transfer him to the city's main jail soon.
'When you are in the military you have a family around you to support you, and when he left he fell into the wrong crowd. He was exploited really.'
He also said his brother had struggled with drugs in the past and had served a stint in prison.
Vella has been arrested after a prostitute fell five floors to her death as they had 'very strange, extravagant sex' on a balcony at a Thai hotel
'But he had turned his life around,' he added. 'He was going to Thailand to make a fresh start.'
The prostitute suffered severe head injuries and multiple fractures after falling naked along with a half-empty packet of sex drugs from an apartment in the notorious tourist resort.
Police searched the empty room – finding clothes and used condoms – then began a manhunt for the Briton amid suspicions that he had fled the scene.
Vella, from Birmingham, West Midlands, was arrested yesterday afternoon at the nearby Route CC Roadhouse bar and was filmed in possession of two mobile phones – one of which police claim was Wannipa's handset.
Vella, from Birmingham, West Midlands, was arrested yesterday (pictured) afternoon at the nearby Route CC Roadhouse bar. The former soldier, who followed his two older brothers into the military, quit the army after suffering from PTSD
He moved from the semi-detached family home in Worcester to Thailand to start a new life four months ago.
Vella's brother Andrayoss said his family had been devastated by the news ans were sure he was innocent.
'We are in pieces. Extremely upset. My gran is terrified, mum has been crying and dad can't bring himself to talk about it.
'He was in the military for a while. All three of us were. He did service for his country.
'When he left he had some mental health issues and so he fell in with the wrong crowd here in England. He got into a bit of trouble.
'He didn't have anything to do and people were talking in his ear when he was just sat around.
'Reece decided to move to Thailand to start a new life. He's not a bad character, he just made some mistakes.
'He was a great, loving guy to have around in our family. We are very close and he would take my son to play in the park.
'He wanted to get away from here. He was going to train in Muay Thai and sort his head out.
Reece flew to Thailand for a new start four months ago, they said. His family rarely heard from him.
In custody: Vella, 25, is interviewed by Pattaya Police Chief Apichai Krobpetch, far right, after the incident on Saturday morning
'It was a horrible shock when we were told he had been arrested.
'It was an accident. We know it was. People said he ran away after the crime but we don't know anything about that.
'We feel really sorry for the girl and her family. What has happened is horrible.
'What we are going through is horrible too. We face losing Reece. That's something that could happen.
'We haven't been able to speak to him yet, but we have been told he has not had any food or water since he was arrested. He is starving and we have been asked for money to make sure he is fed. It's awful.'
The bar girl, also known by the nickname Joy (pictured), had moved from her home town in Sakon Nakhon province, and was working at Sky Bar in the city's bustling Soi 6 street which is lined with hundreds of prostitutes working in bars and massage parlours
In footage from the arrest, the tourist – who arrived in Thailand between three and four months ago – is heard asking to be un-cuffed before laughing as he says: 'Can I have a cigarette now?'.
He later admitted to police that he had taken the prostitute back to his rented room and 'had sex in the bedroom then on the balcony before she fell'.
The prostitute suffered severe head injuries and multiple fractures after falling naked along with a half-empty packet of sex drugs from an apartment in the notorious tourist resort. Paramedics arrived and performed CPR on Wannipa – who was still alive – but she was later pronounced dead in hospital
He then said he was 'distraught' and returned to a different hotel.
Police Lieutenant Narong Chantra, deputy head of investigations at Pattaya Police, said Vella had been arrested on suspicion of 'negligence causing others to die' and fled the scene knowing that he was staying in the country illegally on an expired visa.
He said: 'CCTV from the incident was examined and after checking evidence at the hotel the suspect was found to be Mr Reece Vella, a British citizen, aged 25 years.
In footage from the arrest, the tourist – who arrived in Thailand between three and four months ago – is heard asking to be un-cuffed before laughing as he says: 'Can I have a cigarette now?'
Thai police said that Vella arrived at the venue earlier in the evening before agreeing a fee of around 1,500 baht (£35) then leaving with Wannipa (pictured) and going to a room at the nearby Cosy Beach View condominium block
'An arrest warrant was issued after evidence was presented to the court. The police case is that on the day of the incident Mr Vella visited the bar and paid to take Miss Wannipa away.
'Miss Wannipa and Mr Vella were having very strange, extravagant sex on the balcony until she fell down below and died.
'Mr Vella was in shock and knowing that he had overstayed his visa ran away and kept her mobile phone in his bag and left the room.
'Mr Vella has been arrested on suspicion of negligence causing others to die, overstaying his visa in excess of 59 days and stealing a motorcycle at night.
'The foreign suspect will be processed and prosecuted in accordance with the law.'
Vella was filmed in possession of two mobile phones – one of which police claim was Wannipa's handset
Police claim Vella (pictured on his arrest) and Wannipa had been having what translates as 'fancy or extravagant' sex on the balcony before she fell to her death
But police claim that the pair had been having what translates as 'fancy or extravagant' sex on the balcony of the hotel (pictured) before Wannipa fell to her death
A packet of a Viagra-related gel was found next to Wannipa Janhuathon, 26, after she plunged five floors from a hotel balcony
The bar girl, also known by the nickname Joy, had moved from her home town in Sakon Nakhon province, and was working at Sky Bar in the city's bustling Soi 6 street which is lined with hundreds of prostitutes working in bars and massage parlours.
Thai police said that Vella arrived at the venue earlier in the evening before agreeing a fee of around 1,500 baht (£35) then leaving with Wannipa and going to a room at the nearby Cosy Beach View condominium block.
But police claim that the pair had been having what translates as 'fancy or extravagant' sex on the balcony before Wannipa fell to her death – along with a packet of Kamagra oral jelly which was found next to her body at around 5.30am local time.
Sources close to the investigation said that the packet of Viagra-related gel which fell along with her body, gave them the first clue that Wannipa had not been alone – and had actually been mid-way through sex when she plunged naked to the ground.
The building's security guard Kriengsak Khamchachai, 23, described hearing a 'loud crash' as Wannipa hit the floor. Pictured: The Cosy Beach View apartment block
The building's security guard Kriengsak Khamchachai, 23, described hearing a 'loud crash' as Wannipa hit the floor. He then walked over and saw her body in a pool of blood before raising the alarm.
Paramedics arrived and performed CPR on Wannipa – who was still alive – but she was later pronounced dead in hospital.
Devastated staff at the venue said Wannipa was one of the 'happiest, friendliest girls anybody could wish to meet'.
They added in a statement: 'As many of you know we lost our beautiful Joy [on Saturday] morning.
'The place will not be the same without Joy's big cheeky smile and sense of humour.
'She really was a very special girl and left a lasting impression on all of us. She will remain in our hearts forever.'
Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms
The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.
The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.
All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.
It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.
British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.
The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.
The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.
It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.
“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.
“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”
The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.
It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official
Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.
The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.
Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.
Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.
“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.
Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”
However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.
Australia’s tight restrictions
The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.
Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.
A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.
Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.
Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.
Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.
Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.
The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.
While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.
Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.
In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581
Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection
The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.
Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.
Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.
It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.
The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.
Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”
“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.
“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”
Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.
Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.
For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.
Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.
A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.
Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane
Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane
At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.
When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.
Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.
While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.
But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.
And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.
And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836
Australia2 years ago
Button and Diane Powellpark the school bus after three decades
Australia2 years ago
Button and Diane Powellpark the school bus after three decades
Tech10 months ago
Search engine startup asks users to be the customer, not the product
Europe4 months ago
Covid: Flights shut down as EU discusses UK virus threat
Health4 months ago
Spain ‘to register’ those who refuse to have Covid-19 vaccine
Europe3 months ago
Post-Brexit trade: Is red tape chaos just ‘teething trouble’ as the UK government argues?
Australia3 months ago
Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection
Arts3 years ago
How a chain-link mosque at the Vancouver Biennale became a community hub