Attila Ban jailed for murder of Heathrow hotel workers

Attila Ban
Image caption Ban hid in a divan bed for two days

A Heathrow Airport hotel receptionist who hid in a bed for two days after murdering two colleagues has been jailed for life.

Attila Ban, 32, was found guilty of stabbing Tibor Vass and Alice Adams, both 20, in the Radisson Edwardian Hotel's staff accommodation.

Ban evaded police and a pathologist last August by climbing into a divan bed, which Mr Vass's body was lying on.

At the Old Bailey, Ban was sentenced to at least 26 years.

He had denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

'Burden of grief'

Ban crawled out from the bed and cut his wrists and neck in an unsuccessful suicide bid before he was found, the court was told.

Mr Vass was a Hungarian student who was about to return home.

Image caption Alice Adams and Tibor Vass were found in premises behind the Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel

The court heard that Ban, who is also Hungarian, had developed a crush on Mr Vass and was devastated when he found out he was due to leave.

Mr Vass was heterosexual and did not return his feelings.

Miss Adams, of Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, had only been working at the hotel for three weeks. She was described as popular and fun-loving.

Her mother Sarah Adams said: "Every single person I love and care about is carrying the burden of incredible grief."

Mr Vass's mother Rozalia Vass said her son had fallen in love with the "free spirit" of London.

'There throughout'

The pair went to Ban's flat for drinks on 9 August but did not turn up for work the following day.

Image caption Ban cut a slit into the bed so that he could monitor the investigation outside

Hours after the killings, Ban updated his Facebook wall saying: "I would like to wake up from this nightmare" and all three failed to turn up for work.

A murder investigation led by Acting Det Ch Insp John Finch began and Ban was found in the hotel grounds on 12 August.

Richard Whittam, QC, prosecuting, said: "It became apparent that he had been hiding in the divan base of the double bed.

"He must have been there throughout the attendance of the pathologist, the removal of the bodies and the examination of the scene by crime-scene examiners."

The mothers of both victims begged Ban to tell them what happened after he was found guilty of the murders last month.

Earlier, Michael Birnbaum, QC, for Ban, said: "This remains a baffling case.

"The two people he killed were his friends.

"He killed them both for reasons which remain obscure. He genuinely cannot remember what triggered the killings."

'Extremely violent'

Doctors had suggested that openly gay Ban may have harboured an infatuation for Mr Vass who may have been starting a relationship with Miss Adams.

Judge Gerald Gordon told Ban he had killed "two decent, innocent 20-year-olds".

He said the victims had been killed "extremely violently" with Miss Adams suffering 22 stab wounds and Mr Vass two stab wounds.

Judge Gordon added: "Exactly what happened will probably never be known. That creates an even greater burden for the two grieving families."

He said it may have been a combination of Mr Vass's imminent departure to university and some sexual contact at the after work party which drove Ban to kill.

Outside court, Det Insp John Finch said police were not negligent in not looking in the bed.

"I would not want anyone to do anything differently in the future," he said.

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