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

  • UN bodies call for drug centre closure

    Thirteen UN entities on Monday issued a joint statement calling on countries in Asia and the Pacific to close all compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases and some forms of human rights violations. The group includes

  • Man on run after family murder

    A mother and daughter were found dead amid a pile of burnt rubble after a house in Thma Koul district’s Bonsai Treng commune in Battambang burned down at 1:40am on Sunday. District police chief Phong Sopheap told The Post on Monday that Kim Thoeun, 52,

  • Racism a ‘chronic disease’ in the US

    China said on Monday that the ongoing civil unrest in the US highlighted its severe problems of racism and police violence, and exposed Washington’s double standards in supporting Hong Kong’s protesters. “Black people’s lives are also lives. Their human rights must also

  • VN PM targets prosperous status for key southern economic region by 2035

    Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Saturday asked the southern key economic region to strive to become a powerful and prosperous region by 2035, 10 years ahead of the deadline for the same goal for the whole nation. He made the remarks while chairing a meeting

  • Thai MPs push $60B Covid-19 aid package through Parliament

    A covid-19 financial aid package sailed through Thailand’s House of Representatives on Sunday but opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) attacked the 1.9 trillion baht ($60 billion) aid as mostly benefiting big businesses. After five days of debate, the lower house voted in favour of the package

  • Indonesia backtracks on decision to relax wood export terms

    Indonesia has backtracked on a decision to relax export requirements for timber products months after issuing a deregulation policy that environmental groups criticised for threatening to put sustainable timber trade at risk. On May 11, the Ministry of Trade issued a regulation annulling its previous regulation