In the Media

Heathrow murderer who hid inside bed beneath naked victim is jailed

PUBLISHED August 17, 2012

Attila Ban, 32, knifed Tibor Vass and Alice Adams, both 20, to death in a staff flat behind the hotel where they worked after having sex with the couple.

Hungarian-born Ban then took a bath with Mr Vass's body before ripping off the dead man;s clothes and leaving him naked and posed on a double bed.

Miss Adams was discovered lying on the living room floor with a cushion over her face.

Mr Vass had been stabbed twice in the heart, while Miss Adams had been knifed 22 times.

Following the killing Ban gathered together a primitive survival kit before crawling inside the divan, where he hid from detectives for two days.

He took a water bottle and his mobile phone with him and used a knife to fashion a spyhole in the bed base, through which he watched police scouring the scene for clues.

The killer even updated his Facebook status from his hiding place just hours after the bloodbath, posting: "I'd like to wake up from this nightmare."

He tried to claim he was mentally ill to avoid responsibility but was convicted of murder following a trial at the Old Bailey.

After his arrest he pretended he had suddenly been struck dumb and communicated in sign language - and he still maintains he cannot remember the massacre.

Judge Gerald Gordon jailed him for life with a minimum term of 26 years.

He told him: "You say you cannot - and still cannot - remember.

"That may well be true. There is of course now no one else to assist.

"That in itself creates an even greater burden for the two grieving families, arising from the uncertainty of their loved ones' last moments."

Dressed in the same brown sweater he wore throughout the trial, Ban nodded as sentence was passed and showed no emotion as he was led away to the cells.

The killer and his victims had all worked at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel at Heathrow Airport in west London.

Ban was a workaholic, who had previously worked in similar jobs in the hotel industry in the US and had was named Employee of the Year at the Heathrow hotel six months before he slayed his colleagues.

He was openly gay and had developed a crush on Mr Vass, a fellow Hungarian, after the younger man started work in August 2010, having moved to the UK after he was turned down for a university place.

But Ban was jealous of his relationships with women and had repeatedly launched outbursts at him when he left him out at social events.

He persuaded his employers into letting him have one of the sought-after hotel flats and convinced Mr Vass to move in with him.

But he was dismayed when he learned his friend had finally been offered a university place and was due to go back to Hungary to begin his studies in September last year.

Miss Adams was originally from Iver Heath, Berks.

She was interested in music and performing arts but took a job as a hotel receptionist to help her mother out financially.

Miss Adams had separated from her boyfriend Tad Finney but they had got back together at the time of her death.

She was looking forward to seeing her aunt Kathryn get married in Hawaii and was due to fly out a week after the killing.

Detectives believe Ban was driven to kill after seeing Mr Vass and Miss Adams kissing at the hotel-owned flat Ban shared with Mr Vass in Harlington, west London.

Several friends had been to their flat that night and Ban and others had taken poppers - a well known sexual stimulant.

Ban launched his attack after he was left alone with his victims.

He told the court that in the room they lay on the bed and both men took it in turns to perform sex acts on Miss Adams.

Prosecutors accept there was sexual activity between all three as the DNA from both men was found on Ms Adam's breasts.

Ban said he could remember the threesome but could not recall killing his lovers.

When he woke up he found the couple dead.

"I accept I killed them. I just can't remember what happened," he said.

Ban said he tried to kill himself by cutting his wrists and got into the bath with Mr Vass's body.

"I did not want to die alone," he told the jury.

He said he threw a hairdryer in the bath with him to commit suicide - but the appliance simply kept on working under water.

The alarm was not raised until around 3pm the next day when all three failed to show up to work the late shift at the hotel.

Police forced entry and discovered two bodies, but Ban was nowhere to be found.

They initially believed he could have jumped out of a window or been hiding up in the flat's loft.

Another theory was that he had stashed a clean pair of shoes outside the door and used them to make his getaway without leaving a trail of blood.

It was only two days later that a forensic examiner noticed the bedroom door, which had previously been left open, was now shut.

Detectives found the single bed had been used to wedge it shut and on forcing entry they discovered Ban lying naked and face down on the bed, caked in blood.

A craft knife was sticking out of his arm and another was protruding from his buttock.

On examining the divan bed, police found Ban had used a knife to open out the inside to allow himself more space to move around.

He had spent hours inside and had even defecated inside the divan.

Ban claimed he had reached from a hole in the bed to grab a bottle of mineral water when the police were in the room.

Police said it did not occur to them Ban was still in the room, and they would not have moved the bed for fear of disturbing forensic evidence.

Det Insp John Finch, of the Met's homicide and serious crime command, said: "The concept of him hiding out in a bed for two days with a dead man he has killed and dumped on top of him is beyond belief."

Police say it is possible Ban was able to rearrange the crime scene but stressed the public were never at risk.

Michael Birnbaum QC, for Ban, said the killer's actions in bathing Mr Vass before leaving him posed were "perhaps some kind of homage to Tibor".

Speaking about hiding in the bed, he added: "I would suggest it's not a matter to hold against him.

"He himself said he felt like he wanted to die and if they [the police] came in they would save him.

"On the second night he certainly wasn't trying to conceal the fact he was there because he came out and changed a large number of things to make clear his presence."

Ban was deeply remorseful and wanted to plead guilty to murder, he told the court.

The killer also offered - through Mr Birnbaum - to meet his victim's parents in a bid to help them grieve.

"It might be that in months, or more likely years, to come, if he did remember more of what happened that would be a realistic prospect," said the lawyer.

Ban denied two counts of murder and was convicted. He had already admitted manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility.