The parents of two British medical students stabbed to death while in Malaysia on a work placement have paid tribute to their sons after a local fishmonger was found guilty of their murder.
Newcastle University students Aidan Brunger, of Kent, and Neil Dalton, of Ambergate, in Derbyshire, were killed in Sarawak on the island of Borneo in August last year.
Zulkipli Abdullah, a 23-year-old fishmonger, was found guilty of murder at the high court where prosecutor Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad said he had told friends he wanted to "test his strength" against bigger and taller foreigners before going after the two men.
Following the verdict, parents Phil and Jan Dalton and Paul Brunger and Sue Hidson issued a joint statement paying tribute to their sons.
It read: “Since Aidan and Neil were killed on 6 August 2014, our lives have been shattered.
“They were two exceptional young men with such promise - kind, funny and full of life. Their deaths have left their families and many good friends utterly devastated.
“Neil and Aidan were having a wonderful time in Borneo working in Sarawak Hospital and also travelling around seeing as much of the beautiful country as they could. Both boys said how very welcoming and friendly the people were.
“Our sons would soon have qualified as doctors. Their unprovoked and senseless murders as they were walking home after a night out with other medical students mean that Aidan and Neil will never have the chance to spend their lives caring for and helping others. They would have given so much to the world. We are so very proud of both of them and in what they achieved in their all too short lives.
“Although we are pleased that the man responsible for their murders has been held accountable, the guilty verdict does not bring our sons back.
“We would like to thank our families, friends and everyone who has helped us through these distressing times. We would ask that we are now left to grieve for Neil and Aidan in peace.”
Slater and Gordon UK Travel Lawyer Kieran Mitchell, representing the families, said: "This was a savage and unprovoked attack which lead to the death of two young men who had travelled to Borneo with the sole aim of using their medical skills to help people.
"Since that day, the families have put their faith in the Bornean justice system, which is very different to our own, adding further strain and difficulty during this devastating ordeal.
"After a long and complicated trial they are relieved that justice has been done."
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