S TRONG evidence has emerged that three Westerners abducted on Route 4 have been
killed, British, Australian and Cambodian authorities have said. However some
family members are still holding out hope they may be alive.
remains and clothing have been recovered from a guerrilla camp 4 km from where
Briton Dominic Chappell, 25, his Australian girlfriend Kellie Wilkinson, 24, and
their British friend Tina Dominy, 23, were kidnapped at gunpoint.
Australian Foreign Minister Senator Gareth Evans said in a statement:
"Forensic testing in London has established that the remains are from three
Caucasians, including at least one male and one female.
"The balance of
the available evidence, including the condition of the material recovered,
suggests that the three may have been murdered quite soon after their abduction
Results from further testing expected to be conclusive had yet
to be released as the Post went to press and Dominic's father David Chappell
said: "There must be still some slight glimmer of hope they are
But he added he was close to coming to terms with the fact that
his son might be dead.
The freelance photographer and advertising
designer remained in Cambodia after his ex-wife Phyllida, daughter Gabrielle and
Tina's parents Denis and Yvonne returned to England.
Peter flew back to be with his wife Gabrielle in Australia after news about the
discovery of remains broke. He had remained in Sihanoukville since soon after
the abductions took place near Than Ny village, around 100 km north of the
Some family members were flown over along with journalist Nick
Fielding by British newspaper the Mail on Sunday to make a new appeal for
information about the trio earlier in July.
A second report on July 17,
written by Fielding in the first person, stated as fact that the hostages were
This forced the authorities into prematurely releasing information
about the discovery of human remains before testing was conclusive.
younger Chappell and Wilkinson ran the popular Mediterranean-style restaurant
Rendezvous in Sihanoukville and were returning from the capital with supplies
for the Khmer New Year when they were abducted. Tina had decided to extend her
holiday in Cambodia for the festivities.
Up to 30 armed men were stealing
a truck ahead of their taxi which became caught in a jam.
apparently opportunistic act some of the guerrillas kidnapped the
Cambodian authorities blamed the Khmer Rouge for the kidnappings
though the faction repeatedly denied being involved.
Gangs of bandits as
well as Khmer Rouge guerrillas are known to operate in the area and the
Australian and British diplomats are now backing away from earlier conviction
that the KR were responsible.
The KR took a number of Westerners hostage
in the run up to last year's elections but all were subsequently released