Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thailand: British Kickboxer, 30, Sentenced to 25 Years in Stabbing Death of Marine Veteran

According to The Telegraph, the first Briton to be extradited to Thailand in over 100 years has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of a decorated US Marine veteran.

Lee Aldhouse, from Yardley, Birmingham, admitted killing Dashawn Longfellow, 23, a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, on August 14, 2010, a few hours after the pair clashed in a bar on the popular tourist island of Phuket. 

The shaven-headed, powerfully-built Aldhouse appeared at Phuket’s Provincial Court Thursday (November 28) morning in prison garb and with his hands and ankles shackled. 

A former kickboxer who fought under the name "The Pit-Bull," Aldhouse was given a life term by Judge Montri Sarot, yet the sentence was immediately reduced to 25 years because the 30-year-old had pleaded guilty to the murder charge. 

Longfellow’s family reacted with dismay at the amended sentence. 

COMMENT: Last month, Longfellow’s mother, Tammy, made an emotional plea on her Facebook page for Aldhouse to receive a full life term, which in Thailand is 50 years. 

Aldhouse stabbed Longfellow to death hours after the pair fought in Phuket’s Freedom Bar. Subsequently, Aldhouse fled Thailand immediately, but was later arrested at Heathrow Airport upon his return to the UK. 

Following a two-year legal battle to avoid extradition to Thailand, Aldhouse was returned to Phuket last December on the condition that he would not face the death penalty. 

The Briton is believed to be the first Briton to be extradited to Thailand under a 101-year-old treaty that has never previously been used. 

Initially, Aldhouse denied murdering Longfellow, telling the court during his trial in February that he had accidentally killed him in self-defense while searching for his pet dog. 

Yet, after CCTV surveillance video revealed him demanding two knives from a convenience store close to his home, Aldhouse changed his plea to guilty in August and apologized to Longfellow’s family. 

Having spent the last year in Phuket’s over-crowded jail, Aldhouse is expected to serve the remainder of his sentence in a prison on the Mainland. 

Aldhouse's attorney said he has no plans to appeal the verdict or to ask to be transferred to a prison in the UK.