MADRID – A British man has been arrested in Spain in connection with the discovery of a dancer’s dismembered body in a suitcase in Thailand three years ago.
Shane Looker, 46, from Stoke-on-Trent, was arrested by police in Ibiza as he took his car to be serviced. He was the last person to have been in contact with Laxami “Pook” Manochat in 2014, and was wanted over the case.
Her body was cut into pieces before being stuffed inside a suitcase and thrown into the Mae Klong river in Kanchanaburi, about a two-hour drive northwest of Bangkok. Thai police said that Mr Looker and Ms Manochat, 31, were captured on CCTV leaving Nana Plaza in the red-light district of Bangkok. While on the run, Mr Looker admitted paying a bar to spend time with Ms Manochat.
Speaking through a lawyer in 2015, Mr Looker said he did not kill her and was preparing to hand himself in to police. “Yes I did know her. I’m happy to accept that I spent time with her,” he said. “She is a bar girl that I knew previously and I accept that I paid the bar fine [to take a woman away].” He added: “There is no way in the world that I’d ever hurt any woman, let alone kill her. This is a despicable crime which I vehemently deny.
“I look forward to proving my innocence in the fullness of time. I have been advised to get my affairs in order so that I can surrender to the authorities with a properly instructed legal team.”
Mr Looker arrived in Thailand on October 31, 2014, and was last seen with Ms Manochat on November 2, police said. The suitcase, weighed down with rocks and containing her body, was found on November 9.
Once police identified the victim’s remains, police found CCTV showing Ms Manochat leaving Nana Plaza with a white man. The identity of the man remained a mystery until a tip-off to a Thai blog called Stickboy, which was informed of Mr Looker’s full name, nationality and address in Thailand, with his passport photo.
Mr Looker had already left the address but police found shorts and a T-shirt he had allegedly been wearing on the night of November 1, when he was captured on CCTV. DNA taken from a number of items, including nail clippers and a toothbrush, matched DNA found under Ms Manochat’s finger nails, police claimed.
Spanish police said that Mr Looker was arrested on an international warrant yesterday morning. He has appeared before a court in Ibiza and is expected to be transferred to Madrid for an extradition hearing at the National Court.
By Graham Keeley – The Times