Wednesday, February 08, 2006

News article

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Gang kills aspiring young rocker in China
By Shannon McRae

February 08, 2006

AN aspiring Victorian rock star was killed in China while trying to help a mate in an attack witnesses claim was racially motivated.
Talented singer and guitarist Richard Gribble, who grew up in Talbot near Maryborough in central Victoria, died from stab wounds early on Saturday morning after an attack outside a bar in provincial city Fuzhou, where his band had played a gig hours earlier.

Witnesses said up to five men attacked Mr Gribble, his bandmates from three-piece rock band Dot and other tourists, after blocking the path of their taxi.

The men then allegedly beat one of Mr Gribble's travelling companions, before he intervened and was fatally stabbed.

It is believed the alleged attackers were angry that the Westerners were getting attention from local females.

Mr Gribble, 23, who wrote his own songs and modelled himself on music idols Kurt Cobain and Jeff Buckley, had been living and working in China for 18 months, and had hoped to tour the country with his band.

The knife attack happened outside the Malibu Bar in downtown Fuzhou, in the Chinese province of Fujian, in an area frequented by Westerners.

Mr Gribble's mother, Lorraine Morris, said yesterday local police told her they had charged four men over the attack and were pursuing a fifth person.

She said that police believed the attack was racially motivated.

"He had told us he was getting a lot of attention from the girls over there, they were always coming up to him, and some people didn't like that . . . they say good looks are an asset, but they're not always," she said.

Mr Gribble had worked as a chef in Melbourne restaurants after leaving school, before returning to work at his mother's farm at Talbot.

He left for Fuzhou in mid-2004, where his father, Leigh Gribble, was working at a university.

"He always said he'd never make old bones. He had to do it all, and do it quickly, because for some reason he didn't think he'd live a very long life," Ms Morris said.

She said her son's friends in Melbourne were planning to organise a benefit gig in his honour, with proceeds to go to charity.

The family was arranging yesterday to have their son cremated, and his remains flown home.

The band's Aussie bass player, Chris Nixon, told the Herald Sun he didn't feel safe as a Westerner in Fuzhou and would return home to Wyong in New South Wales after the investigation into Mr Gribble's death.

"He was the best friend I had over here. I don't feel safe at all any more," Mr Nixon said.


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