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Murdered Australian resort boss had accused suspect’s wife of stealing

Peter Heppel Krab
Peter Heppel Krab

An Australian man murdered at the Krabi resort he ran with his Thai wife had accused the murder suspect’s wife, who worked at the resort, of stealing. Mr Peter Heppell and his wife ran Melina’s Monkey House and Whale Bar in the Khao Thong subdistrict of Krabi. He was celebrating his 57th birthday when he was stabbed to death after a brief altercation with the suspected killer.

An update from the Phuket Express reports that Mr Heppell had accused an employee, named only as Wanna, of embezzling over 10,000 baht from the resort. The man subsequently arrested for the Australian’s murder is understood to be Wanna’s husband, 24 year old Peerachart Songsri, from the southern province of Songkhla.

It’s understood Peerachart got into a verbal dispute with Mr Heppell, which quickly escalated and culminated in the Thai man allegedly stabbing the Australian multiple times. He was pronounced dead at Krabi hospital and his body is being transferred to Phuket, where a funeral will be held.

Meanwhile, the suspect’s wife, denies the accusation of theft. Wanna says her boss refused to believe she hadn’t stolen the money and intended to deduct the amount from her salary prior to firing her. She claims that when she told her husband, he flew into a rage and went to the resort to confront Mr Heppell.

Peerachart remains in police custody and has been charged with murder, which he has admitted to, but insists his wife did not steal any money. It’s understood the suspect has shown no remorse for his actions.

The Perth father opened Melina’s Monkey House, naming it in honour of his six-month-old daughter Melina, who was swept from his arms during the tsunami.

Peter’s sister Karen said the family were “devastated” to share the news that his life had been “taken suddenly and violently”.

“Peter will be remembered as a larger than life character, who walked to the beat of his own drum and lived life to the fullest.”

SOURCE: The Phuket Express

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