A London hotel receptionist was found guilty this week of gruesomely killing a colleague he had romantic feelings for and a female coworker who had only been on the job for several weeks.
Last August Attila Ban, 32, stabbed Tibor Vass and Alice Adams, both 20, and hid under the bed in a room at the Radisson Edwardian at Heathrow Airport, even as police searched the room for clues. Ban even updated his Facebook status to read, “I’d like to wake up from this nightmare.”
Adams was stabbed 22 times, while Vass was punctured twice in the heart and stripped naked and placed on a double bed. Vass’ mother testified that Ban presented himself as someone who would watch out for her son. ”
“It was comforting for me to know that Tibor found a good friend in London who was mature, friendly and intelligent,” she said. “[Ban] promised me personally to look after my son and not to let anything happen to him.
According to testimony, Ban, who was openly gay, had a crush on Vass, who was straight, and became increasingly jealous about the fellow Hungarian’s career and relationships. He was set off when, just days before the killing, Vass took a photo that didn’t feature Ban during a tea-building exercise.
The court heard it was the sight of the [Vass and Adams] kissing that drove Ban to murder after the group had played drinking games, took poppers—a well-known sexual stimulant—and toyed with the idea of group sex.
Detectives combed the sealed-off quarters for clues but did not discover Ban, who was named as the hotel’s employee of the year in 2010, until the second day of their investigations.
He was lying on another double bed after attempting to take his own life.He had tried to slit his wrists with modelling knives and electrocute himself with a hairdryer in the bath.
Officers found that Ban had water and his mobile phone with him and had cut a slit in the divan bed that he hid in so he could observe the investigation.
Ban pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but was found him guilty of the double murders.
It’s unclear how investigators had missed Ban, who was hiding under the bed where Vass was found.”He must have been there throughout the attendance of the pathologist, the removal of the bodies and the examination of the scene by crime scene examiners,” said prosecutor Richard Whittam, who indicated there were “gaps cut in the side” of the mattress that allowed Ban to observe the investigation over two days.
But Detective Inspector John Finch said police weren’t negligent in missing the suspect and that lifting up beds looking for suspects could sacrifice “crucial forensic evidence”: “I have looked back at this several times with senior management. It was such a strange and bizarre thing for a person to do. It beggars belief.”