Briton murdered at Great Wall of China

Tributes were paid today to a young British tourist who was murdered during a visit to the Great Wall of China.

Tributes were paid today to a young British tourist who was murdered during a visit to the Great Wall of China.

Graphic design graduate Tom Dawson, 24, from Fulham, west London, was understood to have been found with multiple head injuries near the famous landmark on October 2.

He had left the UK in early September for an eight-month tour around Asia, beginning in Hong Kong before travelling to the Chinese capital Beijing.

Mr Dawson recently completed a three-year course at the London College of Printing - part of the London Institute.

Today Michael Benson, director of marketing communications at the Institute, said all staff were 'deeply saddened' by the news.

Mr Dawson had been a 'bright and lovely student' who was 'very well-liked by his tutors and fellow students', he added.

No-one at the family home in Doria Road, Parsons Green, was available for comment today but one neighbour, who did not wish to be named, described Mr Dawson as 'a lovely boy'.

"Lots of us in the street have known them for many years," she said.

"He was very, very much loved by his family.

"I think the easiest way for them at the moment is just to be private about it and grieve by themselves."

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office was unable to confirm any details.

She said: "We are aware of this distressing case and we are in contact with the Chinese authorities about it, but we are not in a position to confirm any further details at this point.

"The family have asked us not to publicly discuss the case and we respect their wishes."

The British Embassy in Beijing also refused to disclose any information, adding that it was a 'very sensitive matter'.

In a statement yesterday, the victim’s parents, Peter and Ana Dawson, described their son as an "extremely happy and vibrant young man, with a personality that charmed everyone who met him".

They added: "We are so completely bereft. We loved him so much. He lit up our lives."

He had planned to start a career in the graphics industry on his return.

One of Mr Dawson’s friends, Nick Martin, said details of where and when the attack happened were very sketchy.

"Tom was attacked while he was out there and he’s dead," said Mr Martin, a property developer from Battersea, south London.

"The case is with the Chinese authorities. That’s all we know."

Reports said that Mr Dawson had his throat slashed and had injuries consistent with being attacked from behind.

He had told his family he intended to celebrate his birthday on September 29 with a visit to the Great Wall.

It is thought he may have been attacked at dusk after exploring a valley near Badaling, a section of the wall about 43 miles north west of Beijing.

According to The Times, the alarm was raised when bloodstains and an English-language immunisation booklet were found.

Local police and tracker dogs eventually found his body in a ravine near the wall, dressed only in a T-shirt.

Mr Dawson’s camcorder, which he was using to film and send back pictures from Internet cafes, has not been found, the newspaper said.

The body, which has not yet been formally identified, may be retained by the Chinese authorities during the murder investigation.

The Great Wall of China, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is the country’s most famous and popular tourist attraction.

Built more than 2,000 years ago to protect the Middle Kingdom from attack by northern tribes, it stretches more than 4,500 miles across most of the vast territory.

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