Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Alleged killer ‘frequented capital bar’

Alleged killer ‘frequented capital bar’

Toby James Nelhams hides his face as he is escorted by officials from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week.
Toby James Nelhams hides his face as he is escorted by officials from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week. Niem Chheng

Alleged killer ‘frequented capital bar’

Suspected murderer Toby James Nelhams was charged with fraud and immigration violations on Friday, while the former employee of one of his alleged accomplices claimed Nelhams lived in Phnom Penh in the months prior to the killing.

“The prosecutor charged him on five counts: entering and working in Cambodia without a passport, working without a work permit, using a fake document and fraud,” said Nelhams’ court appointed lawyer, Suon Virakpanha. None of the charges touch on his alleged involvement in a murder-for-hire in neighbouring Thailand.

Virakpanha added that Nelhams has been moved to pre-trial detention in Prey Sar prison.

Nelhams is suspected of ordering the January 24 murder of fellow Briton Tony Kenway following a business dispute in Pattaya, Thailand.

Kenway was allegedly shot dead by Abel Caldeira Bonita, with a third suspect, Miles Dicken Turner, driving the getaway motorbike. Bonita and Turner are still at large.

A chef at the recently closed Fisherman’s Cafe restaurant in Pattaya yesterday said that Nelhams had owned the establishment for about six years, but was rarely there in person.

“He only came to the restaurant twice in the last two years,” the man said yesterday, telling The Post he didn’t think Nelhams had ever actually lived in Pattaya.

The manager of a Phnom Penh bar that Caldeira once worked for said Nelhams and Tucker frequently came to the bar when Caldeira was working as a bartender.

“They sat right there all the time,” he said, gesturing to one section of the bar.

Caldeira’s former employer said the alleged hitman claimed he had just arrived in Phnom Penh when he began working at the bar “around six or seven months ago”. Facebook posts depict Caldeira in Cambodia as early as 2013, and seem to show that his mother lived in Phnom Penh.

“It’s strange to see he killed somebody. I’m shocked, I don’t believe it” he said about Caldeira, adding that Nelhams was also “such a nice guy”. Tucker, he said, never spoke.

The manager said Nelhams and Tucker came to the bar “a lot” during the five or six months Caldeira worked there. He said he last saw the trio around a month and a half ago.

Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun yesterday said Cambodian court may have jurisdiction to charge Nelhams with murder if he ordered the hit while in Phnom Penh.

Oeun added that Nelhams could be extradited to Thailand for the crime, although Cambodian officials have steadfastly refused to comment on the possibility of extradition.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman