Torquay grandmother may have been targeted – fear
And today exclusive documents show the countdown to his murder. And they reveal that Phillips, 59, described as a man with a heart of gold but extremely naïve, married, wrote a will in favour of his new 29-year-old Thai bride, and was gunned to death all within 15 days.
And his death was only delayed because, they say, Wilaiwan, had to find a deposit of 300,000 (£6000) for the gunman who drove in from another province to carry out the deed.
Phillips’ 81-year-old mother Ann Kingston, libes in her son’s flat in Torquay, Devon.
After Stephen’s death she called Mrs Kingston at her home in Devon asking for money and for her to come to Thailand for her ex-husband’s cremation.
In the will Wilaiwan had inherited her husband’s flat in Newtake House, Hele Road, Torquay, but she could not take possession until after Mrs Kingston’s death. He also left her in excess of £220,000 in long term deposit accounts.
Mrs. Kingston has declined to talk to the press. She is being looked after by a police family liaison officer but a friend stated:
“I have been contact with Stephen’s mother. Wilaiwan has already been in contact asking for money. She has also asked her to travel to Thailand. But there was no way she would even consider going”.
Banks,. where Stephen had accounts, had been notified of Wilaiwan’s arrest.
Expat friends of Phillips took a dim view. They had witnessed a drama between Stephen and Wilaiwan unfold before their very eyes in the small town of Baan Phai, in Thailand’s north eastern province of Khon Kaen.
He had actually lived in Khon Kaen with Wilaiwan for over a year and gone through a Buddhist wedding ceremony.
But he had soon had enough.
Regulars at the Number One bar in Khon Kaen were soon calling Stephen ‘The Wounded Buffalo’ after he began turning up with new tales of woe from his ‘wife’.
One of the questions he asked of his friends in the pub was if he had only gone through a Buddhist ceremony was his wife entitled to half his belongings.
The answer he was given, said a regular, was :”No”. But if he married legally it was a different matter.
Slapped in public
They saw her slap him around in public and on one occasion she even turned up at the bar with police and demand they take her husband and a member of bar staff to the local police station to apologise in front of her for showing disrespect.
“We did apologise but in a joking way. We said we were sorry for her ignorance. Neither she nor the police understood what we were really saying,” said the second apologist.
“We were shocked by his murder. We thought Stephen had found somebody else and had got away from Wilaiwan.
“We saw him with a young woman who by comparison was quite delightful”.
In fact Stephen HAD got away and found a new girlfriend who was rich in her own right and not interested in his cash.
But then suddenly Wilaiwan and Stephen, a retired supervisor for Network Rail, got together again in Baan Phai at the beginning of August and within weeks he was married, had made his will, and was DEAD.
Records show that Stephen Phillips married Mrs Wilaiwan Parncharlie at Promprabsattroopai district office in Baan Phai on August 9th.
The following day on August 10th he was taken to the office of lawyer Ms Peeranut Kraegkham where he signed over a will in Wilaiwan’s favour.
On August 24th, the British Foreign Office confirmed, Phillips, was gunned down outside the marital home in Baan Phai. He was shot in the chest. head and leg and died instantly.
Later his wife told me by phone:
“My husband was angry when he went out. He went to see some men who had cheated us out of 300,000 baht in a money lending scheme. . These men were not local. They travel from province to province and cheat everyone. He was also angry with me for giving them the money.”
Police in Khon Kaen said however:
“There is no evidence of these money lenders. We believe she cheated her husband out of 300,000, to pay a deposit of 100,000 baht each to the fixer, driver and gunman. The driver has said they were promised a total of 3 million baht (£60,000) in the longer term”.
There appears to have been some remarkable police work.
On raiding her house police found a 7/11 receipt for payment to top up a mobile phone, plus a box which contained a mobile phone.
(left) Pornchai Gerdyoo – The fixer
Since they knew the exact time all the phones were topped up, they were able to go to various 7/11 shops in the provinces of Korat, Kon Khaen and Buri Ram and pick up the CCTV video of all those involved in the plot.
Arrest warrants have been issued both for the alleged gunman Wicharn Parnicum and for the fixer Pornchai Gerdyoo. Both are believed to have fled to Cambodia. The driver, who has not been named, is understood to be fully co-operating with police.
While the police carried out a thorough investigation, the killing of foreign husbands by Thai wives is often not treated seriously by courts in Thailand (except for the cases detailed below) and Wilaiwan was three days ago released on bail of 200,000 – just £4000.
Lloyds TSB have been notified that attempts may be made to withdraw Mr Phillips’ cash.
Below is a video of the arrest of Wicharn in Pattaya for illegal gambling
Famous ‘Thai Killer Wives’
Beaten, barbecued and fed to tigers
In September 2006 Pannada Charnaud, 35, and four of her relatives were sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering her husband Toby Charnaud, 41, a gentleman farmer from Chippenham.
The court in Petchaburi Thailand was told how Charnaud was lured to Kaeng Krajan National Park, beaten to death, and barbecued, before his body was chopped into little pieces and fed to the park’s tigers.
Even though Toby has divorced Pannada and paid her off she stood to control the cash he left to their son in his will, if Toby died.
Waited with a stun gun for his own death
In November 2009 Wachariewau (Wanna) Kongmee, the former bar girl and Thai wife of retired engineer, Ian Beeston, 69, from Market Harborough, and her Thai boyfriend Songjit Channondon were sentenced to life imprisonment, after Wanna convinced her boyfriend to club her husband to death.
Beeston was aware his death was imminent. He sat alone at home armed with a stun gun and wrote a note saying: “It’s only a matter of time now”.
Doughnut girl hammered pensioner to death
And in July this year in Britain 49-year-old Bunthawee Rimmer was jailed for life for bludgeoning 77-yr-old retired solider Paul Norfolk to death in Haverhill, Suffolk, with a 12 oz. hammer just three months after he changed his will to leave her £340,000.
Bunthawee, previously a doughnut seller in Thailand, had previosuly married Norfolk’s best friend Geoffrey Rimmer. When he died she went to live with Norfolk and also acted as his carer.