STOCKHOLM – Two years after talking his way out of a Thai police cell, the alleged killer of Robert Hollick is back behind bars in Sweden and the Thai Government has apologized to the slain man’s family for letting him flee.
Robert Hollick, 43, was stabbed to death at a bar in tourist hot spot Pattaya in 2012.
After the frenzied attack, which was sparked by an argument about Hollick’s dog, Thai police arrested and charged Swede Andreas Ringvall with his murder.
But Ringvall left the country two months later in unusual circumstances, after paying 500,000 baht, almost $20,000, in bail.
After repeated inquiries by Hollick’s family, Thai authorities announced an investigation into Ringvall’s disappearance, and said an extradition request would be made to Sweden.
Further investigations last year revealed Ringvall had changed his name to Andreas Karlsson, and had begun a new life in the small town of Nynashamn, where he was working as a laborer.
This week, Stockholm police confirmed they had arrested Ringvall on July 29 and charged him with murder.
Hollick’s mother, Anne, said Swedish authorities had contacted her last week to tell her of the arrest. They said a homicide detective was on his way to Thailand to gather evidence, and she had been assigned a lawyer to represent her if she decided to go to Sweden for the trial.
She said this was not an option, however, as she had been trying hard to erase any thoughts of Ringvall from her memory.
“There’s no way I would want to go, I just don’t want that person in my head.
“I’ve had two years to try and get rid of it, but if I start thinking about it and talking about it, it pops up again.”
Despite this, she said she was thrilled that Ringvall would have to face justice. “I’m pleased, relieved a bit, because the thought of him living as an ordinary Swedish citizen, just living his life like nothing happened . . .”
Intranee Sumawong, executive director of international affairs at the office of the Thai attorney-general, said last night: “I really would like to send a message to [Hollick’s] family that we are very sorry about the situation. We feel responsible and, as the public prosecutor of Thailand, I will do my best to make sure justice is done in this case.”
She said the attorney-general sought to extradite Ringvall, but Swedish authorities refused, claiming its law prohibited extradition.
However, Sweden agreed with Thailand’s request to pursue the case and had arrested Ringvall as a result.
“We are very pleased about that. The arrest is the most important thing.”
Stockholm police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said a court had decided Ringvall would remain in custody until an August 14 bail hearing. – By SHANE COWLISHAW
STORY SO FAR
August 21, 2012: Robert Hollick is stabbed three times in the neck and dies after a bar fight in Pattaya. Swedish man Andreas Ringvall is arrested and charged with murder. His girlfriend is also detained but later released.
August 24: Ringvall is granted bail after paying 500,000 baht (more than $20,000 at the time) and given his passport, but the immigration service is told not to let him leave the country.
August 27: Documents released under the Official Information Act show an unknown person calls the New Zealand embassy in Bangkok and says he has heard Ringvall will try to abscond while on bail. The embassy tells the person to contact police and makes its own inquiries, but has little success.
October 28: Ringvall is granted permission by the Pattaya court to leave Thailand for two weeks. He flies to Sweden and fails to return.
November 19: The New Zealand embassy formally asks the courts for information, but finds out little.
December 14: A warrant is issued in Thailand for Ringvall’s arrest, and his bail guarantor is fined.
Late December: Hollick’s mother, Anne, hears from a friend of her son that Ringvall has fled Thailand.
January 2013: The Thai ambassador to New Zealand writes to reassure Anne Hollick he will look into the matter.
June: After repeated inquiries by The Dominion Post to Thai and Swedish authorities, Thai Interpol decides to request the extradition of Ringvall from Sweden, or that he be tried for murder in his homeland.
July 2013:The Dominion Post reveals Ringvall has changed his name and is living in a small fishing village, working as a labourer.
July 2014: Swedish police arrest Ringvall and charge him with murder.