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The Singapore Law Gazette

A British Serial Killer in Singapore

a True Story by Tan Ooi Boon

A law graduate, Ooi Boon is a law and crime specialist who covered the crime scene for the Straits Times for many years. This is his latest page-turner about a horrendous crime committed in 1995 right in the very heart of our island city.

On March 21, 1995, a front-page report about body parts in plastic bags discovered by a boatman floating in the sea off Clifford Pier became the talk of the town. The body parts were those of a South African tourist David Kellane. His pair of legs, severed at the knees, and his thighs and naked torso without his head and limbs were fished from the waters three days apart.

The killer, John Martin, a British citizen, was able to kill the victim in our local hotel, disposed of the body parts, and flew off to Thailand to kill two more Canadian tourists, a mother and adult son, before returning to Singapore. His modus operandi was simple enough – first, he befriends his victims at the airport, then moves in with them or stays close to them in a hotel, and brutally kills them for money.

In both instances, he was able to dispose of the remains of the victims and get out of the country days before the police had any idea who he was and how he did it. He literally would have gotten away with multiple murders if he had not returned to Singapore after the second murder in Thailand.

Ooi Boon gives a vivid, blow by blow account of the way the almost perfect crime was conceived and executed. The detailed description of the murderer gives the reader a deep insight into his psyche. He answers our question, “What sort of man would kill so cold-bloodedly?

His gripping account of the innocence and goodness of the victims, and the way they were killed, makes us feel deeply for the victims and their families. And more frighteningly, any one of us travelling even in the safest cities in the world can be a potential victim of such a gruesome crime.

The book may be purchased at Use promo code “STP2019” to enjoy a 20% discount.

General Secretary
Singapore Kindness Movement
Advisor, Publications Committee
The Law Society of Singapore