Aldhouse extradition decision 'by end of month'
US Marine Dashawn Longfellow was brutally stabbed to death in Phuket just over a year ago. Now it appears that his family’s long wait for justice may be nearing a conclusion.
Friday 19 August 2011, 03:41AM
A warrant was issued for Lee Aldhouse, a long-time Phuket resident with a reputation for violence, in the immediate aftermath of the murder, a year ago, which sent shockwaves through the community in Rawai.
Both men had initially come to the island to train in the sport of Muay Thai. After a drunken altercation in the Freedom Bar, Aldhouse allegedly followed Mr Longfellow home and stabbed him to death in front of his girlfriend.
The police put together a case against Aldhouse which included CCTV footage of someone closely resembling him storming into a 7-Eleven and stealing two knives from the shocked staff.
However he was able to flee the country before Thai police could get to him, flying out to the UK where he was arrested at Heathrow Airport when records showed that he was wanted on an outstanding, unrelated warrant.
After serving the remainder of his outstanding UK sentence, Aldhouse was re-arrested for the murder of Mr Longfellow, a US Marine who served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan and was taking time out in Phuket to recover from a shrapnel wound sustained while on active duty.
Prosecutors in Thailand compiled a case for extradition that was sufficiently compelling to convince the court in the UK that there were no grounds to oppose it. Since then, it has been a nervous wait for friends and family of Mr Longfellow to see whether the Home Secretary would rubber stamp the decision.
Since then Aldhouse has been fighting the extradition but a UK court initially found that there were no statutory grounds to bar the extradition. The final decision was then passed on to Theresa May, Britain's Home Secretary (interior minister) at the end of June.
A Home Office spokesperson told the Phuket News, “Mr Aldhouse’s case was sent to the Home Secretary on Thursday 30 June after the court found there were no statutory bars to his extradition.
"The Home Secretary must now decide whether to order extradition; her decision must ordinarily be taken within two months of the court sending the case."
British law states that if the Home Secretary decides to order his deportation to Thailand, Aldhouse then has 14 days to lodge an appeal with the High Court.
To succeed in the appeal, he would have to bring forward new evidence not presented at the original extradition hearing, or argue successfully that the judge in the original hearing made a wrong decision on a point in the case.
The US government has let it be known that it wants to see Aldhouse extradited and put on trial for the murder in Thailand.
The family’s wait would now appear to be almost over, and it appears increasingly likely that the former night club bouncer will stand trial in Thailand for the murder of Mr Longfellow.