A British music teacher has been brutally murdered in Thailand in what police described as a tribal ritual.
David Crisp, 56, from Derby, was killed at his home in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, where he was a prominent member of the British expatriate community and director of a choral society.
“He had beaten about the head with a teak mug. His throat had also been cut with a six inch knife and the murderer tried to finish the act off by smothering him in a cloth which covered his piano,” said Colonel Pattipol Serichaichana of the Chiang Mai police.
He said that police suspect the killer was a member of the Shan, a hill tribe which straddles the Burma-Thai border. A hill tribe ritual invoking animist spirits was performed by the killer to aid his escape.
Before the killer left the murder scene he smashed the ceiling light in Crisp’s office at his home, a custom which Shan tribesmen believe would put the police off their trail.
“Shan believe if they destroy the light the spirits will not see them and they will be harder to catch. The superstition has remained since electricity generators were introduced with difficulty into some hill tribe villages,” said Col Pattipol.
“We believe the murder is of Shan origin because of the ritual of smashing the light. It appears the murderer made away in [Crisp's] second car, a Citroen, which we have found, and may have taken a safe with him as there are drag marks outside his front door.”
Police said that Crisp, who often visited bars frequented by the city’s homosexual community, had met a man on Tuesday and brought him home. The man has not been seen since.
Crisp had been dead for at least 24 hours when his body was found on Thursday morning,
Col Pattipol said that police were concentrating their inquiries around the bars in Chiang Mai’s night market.