An Australian father has been killed in Thailand while celebrating his birthday with friends.
Peter Heppell had been celebrating his 57th birthday at Melina’s Monkey House and Whale Bar in Krabi, east of Phuket, when the alleged attack occurred on Tuesday.
The Perth dad owns the bar and it is understood to be named in honour of his six-month-old daughter Melina, who was swept from his arms during the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
Friends and loved ones are flooding social media with emotional tributes to their “larger than life” friend after his shocking death.
His sister Karen said the family were “devastated” to share the news that his life had been “taken suddenly and violently”.
“Peter will be remembered as a larger than life character, who walked to the beat of his own drum and lived life to the fullest,” she said.
“He survived motor bike accidents and miraculously the Boxing Day tsunami.
“Peter loved his daughter Aly, the ocean, beer, footy and Thailand.
“The family is so grateful that we were able to spend time with him recently. Now reunited with baby Melina. Our hearts are breaking.”
Mr Heppell’s friend Jeff Rowe said: “Lost a mate and a brother today. What is this world coming to.”
North Beach Football Club – with whom he won the 1990 premiership – shared a tribute to the man they said was a “character on and off the field”.
“(We are) saddened to learn about the passing of Peter Heppell,” the post read.
“Condolences to his family and friends. Rest in Peace.”
“I remember Peter as an electrifying wingman who always had a smile on his face or was laughing,” one person added in the comments.
“Bloody good bloke,” another said. “Absolute legend teammate and lifelong mate.”