A British expat living in Hanoi, Vietnam set fire to a local woman in a clothes tailoring business on Monday evening.
The attacker, Gary Iredale, is believed to have left the country immediately following the attack. Police officers have a warrant for his arrest, and identified Iredale over security cameras in Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport. Some reports suggest that he has fled to the Philippines, while others said that he was arrested by Thai police.
Nguyen Hang, allegedly an ex-girlfriend of Iredale, is currently receiving treatment at Saint Paul General Hospital for burns that cover 70 percent of her face and body, according to Gái Việt Trai Tây (GVTT), a website which reports on interracial couples in Vietnam.
Nguyen, who has one child, is from a province in Southern Vietnam, but relocated to Hanoi and opened a tailor shop in the West Lake district of Hanoi, a neighborhood where many international ex-pats reside, according to GGVT.
Iredale, 52, is originally from Blackpool, England. He is believed to have been under the influence of a combination of LSD and ecstasy, according to Ben Evens, a neighbor of Iredale in their Hanoi apartment complex.
“[My partner and I have] known Gary for 18 months since we moved in,” Evens told Phillipines Lifestyle News. “He was, in my opinion a normal guy, lived alone, partner in a vending machine business, gym enthusiast, nothing really out of the ordinary.”
Iredale was identified as the attacker by Alan Nicholls, a fellow expat and barbecue manufacturer, who was at the shopfront with his wife and child at the time of the crime. According to their account, and footage captured on security cameras, Iredale entered the business wearing a mask, doused Nguyen and her surroundings in petrol, and then set her ablaze.
Domestic violence involving women is a subject of public campaign in modern Vietnamese society. In 2016, several video clips of women being publicly beaten surfaced on the internet, and drew conversation to the lack of public violence reporting among bystanders.
“Violence against humans, particularly against women, is escalating in our society,” Hoàng Giang Sơn, a gender equality campaigner from the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE), told Vietnam News.
The Daily Mail spoke with Iredale’s parents on Friday, who urged their son to turn himself in.