Body of British tourist found with head injuries, hidden behind sofa in her niece’s flat
By Martin Wainwright
Police in Hong Kong are questioning a 29-year-old man about the suspected murder of a British Salvation Army major whose body was found hidden behind a sofa in her niece’s home.
Janet Gilson, 64, from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, was on holiday in the former British colony and was reported missing from the flat at Tai Yuen village on the island of Lamma on Thursday.
Police in Hong Kong said she had suffered head injuries but the cause of death will not be confirmed until after a post-mortem in the next few days. The man being questioned was arrested in Hong Kong’s main ferry harbour.
Police searched the flat thoroughly on Thursday but found nothing amiss. The property belongs to Gilson’s niece Julia Fareed, a personal assistant at a hedge fund company who lives there with her husband, Lewis, and their three-year-old daughter.
Gilson served in the Salvation Army for most of her life, was not married and looked after her mother, Sylvia. Major Carol Bailey, regional manager for the Salvation Army, said: “It was with great sadness and shock that we learned of the death of Major Janet Gilson.
“She was a deeply spiritual woman and was highly respected and loved by all those with whom she worked and came into contact.
“As a Christian minister and leader she worked in many capacities for the Salvation Army, not just in the UK but also in Russia. She was an inspirational person and she will be sadly missed.”
Senior inspector Kwok Chi-Keung of Hong Kong police said officers called to the flat found Gilson’s glasses and her usual pair of shoes. Her bedroom had been left untidy and the bathroom water heater was on.
Neighbours said that police with sniffer dogs had been operating over the whole island of Lamma, where her niece’s hedge fund firm was based. Her nephew Paul Gilson, 57, a fisherman in Leigh-on-Sea, said: “She was a very nice and generous woman.”
Bailey said: “We are supporting her family and friends at her local church with pastoral care and support and would encourage those who knew Janet to join us in prayer for her and her family.”
A Foreign Office spokeswoman confirmed the death and said that consular staff were on standby to help the family in Hong Kong if necessary.