England

Borneo student killings: Accused denies knife attack

Neil Dalton, left, and Aidan Brunger Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Neil Dalton, left, and Aidan Brunger were in the last few days of a six-week medical placement

A Malaysian man accused of stabbing to death two British medical students has admitted attacking one of them, but denied using a knife.

Newcastle University students Aidan Brunger and Neil Dalton, both 22, were stabbed in a bar in Kuching in August.

Fishmonger Zulkipli Abdullah, 24, is accused of their murder, but told a judge in Borneo that he only punched one of them.

If convicted, Mr Zulkipli faces a mandatory sentence of death by hanging.

Mr Dalton, from Ambergate, Derbyshire, and Mr Brunger, from Hempstead, Kent, had almost completed a work placement at a hospital in Kuching.

They were found sprawled in the road by cafe workers in the early hours of 6 August last year.

The BBC's Malaysia correspondent Jennifer Pak said: "Mr Zulkipli admitted in an unsworn statement from the dock that he and two others ganged up on the British men.

"But he insisted that he only punched one of them and did not use a knife.

"He said it was unfair for him to be the only one charged in the killings."

'Smelled blood'

Mr Zulkipli's parents, who were in court to hear the first of defence evidence, said they did not believe their son stabbed the pair.

Mr Zulkipli's statement said: "It was impossible for me to fight with and stab the two foreigners, who are so much taller, bigger and stronger than me.

"I did not stab any of the foreigners, except that I did punch one of the foreigners."

He also denied telling friends that the blood of the two students "smelled very nice".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Zulkipli Abdullah denies murdering the students

He added: "This is not true because I would not know the smell of the blood of an Englishman or for that matter, the blood of any nationality."

Mr Zulkipli said he had been out with two friends "visiting pubs and looking for girls" and was not carrying a knife at the time.

He said the trio got into an argument with the students and pursued them in a car, before fighting with them in the street.

He said: "I did not take the knife from my back pocket and stab the foreigner. I merely punched him.

"During the struggle I did not stab anyone with any weapon."

The trial continues.

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