British man at centre of Thai body-in-a-suitcase murder investigation arrested in Ibiza.
A British man at the centre of a Thai murder probe over the death of a go-go dancer has been arrested in Ibiza.
Shane Looker, 47, from Stoke-on-Trent is understood to have been held on the holiday island on an international arrest warrant.
He has been remanded in custody after appearing before a judge in a closed court hearing.
Looker is wanted for questioning by authorities in Thailand over the death of go-go dancer Laxami Manochat.
Her dismembered remains were found stuffed inside a suitcase thrown into a river near the capital Bangkok in November 2014.
Reports at the time said he owned a hotel in Ibiza.
He is believed to have been arrested near the town of San Jose in the south-west of the island, although the exact location has not yet been revealed.
National police in Bangkok said after Miss Manochat’s body was discovered that she and Looker had been captured on CCTV leaving Nana Plaza, an area that attracts hundreds of foreign men every night in search of alcohol and sex.
Looker admitted paying a bar in Bangkok’s red-light area to spend time with Miss Manochat soon after being named as a suspect.
But speaking through a lawyer to a British newspaper, he insisted in February 2015 he did not kill her and was preparing to hand himself in to police.
He said at the time: “Yes, I did know her. I’m happy to accept that I spent time with her.
“She is a bar girl that I knew previously and I accept that I paid the bar fine.
“There is no way in the world that I’d ever hurt any woman let alone kill her.”
The dancer’s body was sliced into pieces before being stuffed inside a suitcase and thrown into the Mae Kong River in Kanchanaburi, 70 miles south of the Thai capital Bangkok.
It was found on November 9, 2014, seven days after Looker was last seen with the dead woman.
Mr Looker’s identity remained a mystery until a tip-off to Thai blog Stickboy which gave his full name, nationality and an address in Hua Hin 90 miles south of Bangkok along with a photo of his passport.
He had already left by the time police received the information and went to the address with a search warrant.
The shorts and T-shirt he was wearing when he was captured on CCTV with Miss Manochat were found at the property.
According to reports in Thailand, DNA tests on nail clippers and a toothbrush and skin under the dancer’s nails also link him as a suspect.
Miss Manochat was reported missing after her mum failed to receive money she regularly sent her mum by Western Union transfer.
A legal firm advising Mr Looker said in February 2015 it had been contacted by the Brit and advised him to hand himself in to police.
Jason Coghlan, PR Director of JaCogLaw which has offices in Thailand near to Mr Looker’s home as well as in Spain, confirmed at the time: “We have been contacted by Shane Looker in the last few hours.
“He has told me categorically he had absolutely nothing to do with this woman’s murder.
“We have advised him he needs to hand himself in to the authorities but his concern and ours as his legal advisors are that that takes place in conditions which don’t affect his ability and right to defend himself against these very serious accusations.
“He’s not saying he hasn’t spent time with this woman.
“But the DNA that’s said to have been found doesn’t make him guilty of murder and nor does the fact he was with her shortly before she disappeared.
“I know this man personally through common friends and I can assure you he’s no psychopath.
“There’s an inherent unfairness in trying to defend yourself when you’re in a Thai prison and haven’t had a chance to get your financial affairs in order and that’s something that needs to be addressed.
“Mr Looker is obviously aware that it’s far better for him to hand himself in before he’s caught.
“If the Thai authorities believe they need to arrest him so they can ascertain whether he played a role in this woman’s murder, that’s fair enough.
“But if an innocent man is arrested and thrown into prison without any access to money with which to properly defend himself, there is obviously a much higher risk of a miscarriage of justice.” – Daily Mirror
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