September 7th 2010
A British man who owns a South Philippines beach resort was shot dead in front of his wife by thieves.
Anthony Nicholas, 64, died in a hail of bullets when he refused to stop his motorised tricycle for armed men. They fired on him as he rode past, riddling his body with further shots as he lay collapsed.
Mr. Nicholas' murder was witnessed by his wife Judith (with James below left) who handed over shop takings to the men near the resort they operated called Hijoe Beach in Sipalay, Negros.
The couple's son James was visiting from London and raced to the scene from their nearby farmhouse.
The 28-year-old, from Pinner, London, said: 'My father drove through a hail of bullets and then they shot him in the back. When he collapsed they emptied their guns into his body.
'My father had driven on to protect my mother and her assistant but he died almost immediately.'
Mr Nicholas said his father was part-owner of 'Hi-Jo Beach and that he was known locally as 'Hi Jo'.
There had been a dispute over the beach but there was no evidence to connect the beach to the shooting.
The computer games programmer spoke today as his mother and her assistant were treated for shock and police began a hunt for the murderers.
Speaking from Matlag Farmhouse nestled in the hills just above Sipalay city, he added: 'My father had been coming here for 40 years and fell in love and married my mother here. He had a resort a shop and a farmhouse.
'He had a routine. Everyday he would go down to the beach resort and return in the evening picking up my mother and her assistant and the day's takings from the shop.
'He was driving home in their motorised tricycle and side car when they were waved down.
'They were already on our land. Dad drove straight on and the robbers opened fire then shot him in his back when they passed. He collapsed and fell over.
'The robbers approached and demanded any cell phones, so the police could not be called. My mother shouted to her assistant 'Give them the money', which was just the days takings from the shop.
'The robbers ran off when they heard the sound of another vehicle approaching.
'I was at the house and heard the commotion. I had come to visit on my way from London to Japan to take up a job there. '
Mr Nicholas said his older brother Anjo, 30, had had to leave his new job and was flying out from London and his younger sister Joan, 23, would be following on later.
'My father loved it here. In days gone by it used to be a little bit scary because there was a lot of activity by the NPA - the communist New People's Army,' he added.
'But there has been no trouble since the 2007 amnesty.
There has been a minor dispute over the ownership of a local beach, but at the moment this appears to be just an opportunist act.'
Sipalay Mayor Oscar Montilla, however, said the Nicolas' killing was isolated and was not expected to affect Sipalay's tourism industry.
The area has become a popular new tourist resort since the government gave communist guerrillas an amnesty three years ago - with pristine beaches and excellent diving conditions.