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  • Tourists from hell: we know the type.

  • The girl who gets drunk, and then throws up on an ancient monument.

  • The guy who screams Englishspeak english!” to a local who doesn't speak the language.

  • Any and all bachelor and bachelorette parties that go abroad.

  • There are many tourists from hell.

  • But none of them can hold a candle to today's subject, a tourist who hit the road to...kill

  • other tourists.

  • That's right, this is the strange story of John Martin Scripps, a man who took vacations

  • to kill people.

  • John Martin Scripps was born in 1959 in Letchworth, Hertfordshire - the most UK-sounding town

  • name we've ever heard.

  • He grew up traveling frequently, often along with his father, who was a truck driver.

  • When Scripps was nine, his father committed suicide though, and things understandably

  • started to go downhill from there.

  • Scripps eventually dropped out of school as a teenager and started traveling the world,

  • doing odd jobs here and there to stay afloat financially.

  • He was, in some ways, the original nomadic traveler influencer.

  • Except his vacations featured less flowy dresses and Photoshopped Instagram pics, and more

  • felonies.

  • He was first found guilty of a crime in May of 1974, when he was just 15.

  • Scripps was charged with burglary, but since he was a minor, he was given a conditional

  • discharge.

  • This meant he would only be imprisoned if he committed another crime in the following

  • twelve month period.

  • Scripps, clearly playing chicken with the justice system, would proceed to commit three

  • more thefts in the next two years.

  • For the rest of his non-incarcerated life, Scripps lived the life of a vagabond.

  • He roamed around the world, and even ended up getting married to a local girl from Cancun

  • when he was just 21 years old.

  • His wife, Maria Pilar Arellanos, joined him on the road, and they lived the #vanlife for

  • two years.

  • Up until Scripps, unable to stay away from a good crime, was sentenced to three years

  • in jail for theft, burglary, and resisting arrest.

  • This broke up the happy wandering couple, as Maria apparently prefered a husband who

  • wasn't in prison.

  • When Scripps was released, he still had his travel bug, in addition to a good solid knowledge

  • of criminal activities.

  • So what more logical way to support his wanderlust than trafficking heroin between Asia and Europe?

  • Unfortunately, Scripps had once again conveniently ignored the fact that things like trafficking

  • drugs will get you - that's right! - arrested.

  • He was searched in Heathrow Airport and found to be carrying way too much heroin for airport

  • security's liking.

  • After his stash was found, Scripps was thrown in jail in various places around the UK.

  • Scripps then managed to escape.

  • Twice.

  • Duringhome leave”, where he got to leave prison, visit home, and was expected to return

  • when his time was up.

  • Who could have seen that coming?

  • His own mother told prison authorities, “the Home Office have buried their head in the

  • sand over this.

  • They know full well that if they had done what I told them, none of this would have

  • ever happened.

  • I begged them not to let him go”.

  • Of course, she did give him 200 pounds to help him escape abroad after his last prison

  • break; she was, after all, still his mother.

  • But when someone's own mother is begging the warden to keep her kid locked up...maybe

  • that's a sign that they really shouldn't be allowed out on a prison field trip.

  • Scripps' escape abroad, under the fake name Simon James Davis, would prove his mother

  • right, and the entire UK prison system deeply flawed.

  • No one knows what clicked in Scripps' mind to send him on a serial killing spree, but

  • the training he received while locked up definitely didn't help.

  • Of all possible duties and assignments they could have given Scripps, they made him...a

  • butcher.

  • That's right, he was put to work under a former butcher-turned-prison inmate in the

  • kitchen.

  • The ex-butcher taught him how to dismember and remove the bones from animals.

  • Which...would turn out to be knowledge Scripps unfortunately put to use in the real world.

  • Scripps committed the first confirmed murder in his old drug running stomping grounds:

  • Singapore.

  • On March 8, 1995, Scripps decided to hang around Singapore Changi Airport.

  • He approached a solo male traveler by the name of Gerard Lowe, a chemical engineer who

  • had just arrived from Johannesburg, South Africa, on a business trip.

  • As serial killer true crime series have taught us - but as is rarely true in real life - Scripps

  • must have been quite the charming murderer.

  • We don't know how, as at this point we would like to remind you that Scripps frequently

  • walked around like this:

  • After chatting with Lowe for a time, he somehow convinced the engineer to split a hotel room.

  • [spoken in a rapid, announcer-y type voice] Just a quick PSA from us here at The Infographics

  • Show: please don't book hotel rooms with random strangers that approach you at airports.

  • It seldom ends well.

  • The two men booked a room at River View Hotel.

  • The next day, on March 9, Scripps went down to the front desk to request that Lowe's

  • name be taken off the reservation.

  • Why?

  • Scripps said he had kicked Lowe out due to his being homosexual.

  • The actual reason Scripps requested the name removal was quite different.

  • See, the previous night, Scripps had immobilized Lowe with an electroshock weapon, killed him

  • with hammer strikes to the head, and then proceeded to cut him up in the hotel room

  • bathroom.

  • We told you he'd soon be using those butcher skills.

  • This technically means Scripps and Lowe weren't sharing the room or the reservation anymore,

  • as Lowe was in pieces.

  • However, Scripps apparently also needed a couple of days for disposal, clean-up, and

  • perhaps just to gloat in the room where he had committed a horrific murder.

  • Because Scripps didn't check out until two days later, on March 11.

  • On March 13, some very unlucky passerby walking close to Clifford Pier found a plastic bag.

  • The nauseating sight that awaited them when they opened the bag was a pair of human legs,

  • cut off at the knees.

  • Authorities would also eventually find a pair of thighs and a torso, though never the rest

  • of the victim.

  • Since Lowe's wife filed a missing persons report for him after not hearing from her

  • husband for a few days and not seeing him return on his scheduled flight back, they

  • connected the dots...and the body...to Gerard Lowe.

  • Scripps would go on to make this strange way of approaching and killing victims his own

  • personal M.O.

  • Not even a week would pass until his next murder.

  • Scripps' next stop was in Thailand.

  • Though most people go for the food, the beaches, and the Full Moon Parties, Scripps decided

  • to partake in a little recreational homicide instead.

  • This time, he didn't even wait to get to the airport.

  • He met Sheila Mae Damude and her son Darin Jon Damude, Canadian citizens, on the plane

  • to Phuket.

  • He befriended them during the flight, and when he found out that they were staying at

  • Nilly's Marina Inn on Patong Beach - surprise! - he was going to the same hotel.

  • Staying in the room next to theirs, in fact.

  • On March 16, the Damudes woke up in this beachfront paradise, ate an early breakfast….and were

  • never seen again.

  • At around 11 AM the same day, Scripps went down to reception and asked to be switched

  • to the Damudes' room, as they had unexpectedly left the hotel, and he would take care of

  • their bill.

  • Inexplicably, the receptionist made this switch without checking if the Damudes were in fact

  • still there, or even alive.

  • True to form, Scripps hung around the hotel in Thailand for a few days, finally departing

  • on March 19.

  • Most criminals immediately flee the scene of a murder, but not Scripps - he apparently

  • needed some downtime right after killing people.

  • Right after he left, authorities found the skulls of the Damudes in an old tin mine,

  • and various body parts belonging to Sheila Damude a few days later on Bahn Nai Trang

  • Road, 6 miles (9.7 kilometers) away.

  • Those three murders are Scripps' confirmed kills; the ones he was eventually charged

  • with in the Singapore courts.

  • However, police suspect that those are far from his only murders.

  • London-based financial adviser Timothy MacDowall was on vacation on an island off Belize in

  • the early months of 1995, when he made the mistake of teaming up with a new travel buddy

  • to go take scuba diving lessons.

  • We'll let you guess who this new friend was.

  • Though MacDowall was - surprise surprise - never heard from again, his bank account got suspiciously

  • active, specifically with a £21,000 transfer to an account in San Francisco held by Scripps.

  • MacDowall's body parts weren't found for months, and by that time, Scripps was already

  • in Changi prison for his other murders.

  • He refused to be cooperate with Scotland Yard so detectives never got to the bottom of MacDowall's

  • murder.

  • Accountant William Shackel also had the unfortunate luck to run into Scripps while on vacation

  • in Cancun, Mexico.

  • Once again, Scripps' was never officially found guilty for his murder, but he was in

  • Cancun at the time, and Shackel disappeared right after £4,000 of his travelers' cheques

  • were cashed.

  • Scripps also used Gerard Lowe's credit card to withdraw large sums of money, so the motives

  • for the homicides seemed at least partly financial.

  • Eventually, as one might expect after he committed multiple homicides and then hung around his

  • victims' hotel rooms for days, using their credit cards and transferring money from their

  • account, Scripps was caught.

  • Police apprehended him on March 19, 1995, as he arrived at Changi Airport in Singapore.

  • Helpfully for the local police, Scripps was carrying around an incredible mountain of

  • evidence against him.

  • His possessions included: two British passports issued to Simon Davis - his alias - and perhaps

  • more damningly, Sheila Damude's and Gerard Lowe's credit cards, the two Canadian passports

  • of Sheila and Darin Damude, and Lowe's South African passport.

  • To further cement the case against him, Scripps was also carrying his murder weapons!

  • A 3.3 pound (1.5 kg) hammer, a Z-Force III electroshock weapon to immobilize his victims,

  • a can of mace, handcuffs, thumbcuffs, foldable knives, and Swiss army knives.

  • Meanwhile, last time you went through TSA, they took away your moisturizer and nail clipper.

  • After Scripps' arrest, a district court decided that there was more than enough evidence

  • to proceed with a murder trial.

  • In addition to Scripps having conveniently carried all the evidence against him on his

  • person, 39 witnesses also provided testimony placing him with Gerard Lowe.

  • It may be obvious by this point, but Scripps had very little wiggle room to escape a conviction.

  • He tried to present a self-defense case, stating that Lowe had made homosexual advances towards

  • him in the hotel bed, and when Scripps declined them, Lowe had initially thrown the hammer

  • at him, after which Scripps retaliated by striking a blow to Lowe.

  • He further stated, “I may have worked in the butchery, but cutting up a human body

  • is another thing”.

  • To no one's surprise, the statement about cutting up humans feeling different than cutting

  • up meat didn't really convince the jury of his innocence, as Scripps was clearly hoping

  • it would.

  • The Singapore courts sentenced him to death by hanging, and though Scripps' mother protested

  • the sentence, no other activists or groups jumped in to defend him, and the British government,

  • clearly not wanting to be associated with Scripps, declined to make a plea for clemency.

  • On April 19, 1996, just over a year after his traveling killing spree, John Martin Scripps

  • was hanged in Singapore's Changi prison.

  • This made Scripps the first Briton to be executed in Singapore since its 1959 independence from

  • colonial rule.

  • Though Scripp was executed for Lowe's murder, the police investigating the Damudes' homicides

  • closed the file on the day of his execution, deciding that the case was effectively finished.

  • To this day, authorities around the world, and even Scripps' ex-wife Maria, remain

  • unsure as to just how many travelers may have fallen victim to the serial killer's predations.

  • After learning the story of the Tourist From Hell Serial Killer, hopefully you don't

  • feel as annoyed at your hostel bunkmate snoring loudly three feet away from you.

  • Remember, there are much worse tourists out there.

  • What's the worst thing you've encountered on your travels?

  • Comm ent below, and in the meantime, check out this video over here, or this other story

  • on The Infographics Show!

Tourists from hell: we know the type.

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Traveling Serial Killer - Tourists Worst Nightmare

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    Summer posted on 2021/07/17
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