Dom Phillips

Dominic Mark Phillips (23 July 1964 – 5 June 2022)[2] was a British freelance journalist. He wrote for The Guardian and The Washington Post,[3] and contributed to The Times,[2] the Financial Times and Bloomberg News.[1]

Dom Phillips
Dom Phillips 2019 (cropped).jpg
Phillips questioning Jair Bolsonaro in 2019
Dominic Mark Phillips[1]

(1964-07-23)23 July 1964
Disappeared5 June 2022
Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas, Brazil
Died5 June 2022(2022-06-05) (aged 57)
Body discovered15 June 2022
Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas, Brazil
EmployerThe Guardian
The Washington Post
Spouse(s)Alessandra Sampaio

On 5 June 2022, he and Brazilian Bruno Pereira, an expert on Indigenous peoples of Brazil, went missing in the remote Javari Valley in the far western part of the state of Amazonas in Brazil, one of the most remote zones in the rainforest. On 15 June Amarildo da Costa da Oliveira confessed to shooting and killing Phillips and Pereira.

Early life and educationEdit

Phillips was born to Gillian (née Watson) and Bernard Phillips on 23 July 1964, in Bebington, Cheshire. His mother was Welsh and later became a schoolteacher, and his father was an Irish accountant who later became a lecturer at Liverpool Polytechnic.[2] He had a twin sister and brother.[2][1] During his youth, Phillips shared his family's interest in music and outdoor activities, forming a series of bands with his brother and friends.[2]

Phillips won a scholarship to St Anselm's College in Birkenhead. He studied literature in a combined degree at Hull University for a few months. He then switched to a course at Middlesex Polytechnic, but gave it up.[2] He travelled around the world, living in Israel, Greece, Denmark and Australia.[1][4]


In Liverpool, Phillips set up The Subterranean, a short-lived fanzine, with Neil Cooper in the early 1980s.[4][2] It was named after the Jack Kerouac novel The Subterraneans.[2] In the 1990s, Phillips wrote and edited for Mixmag, where he coined the term "progressive house".[5]

Phillips moved to Brazil in 2007 to finish a book about electronic music.[2] In 2009, he published Superstar DJs Here We Go!: The Rise and Fall of the Superstar DJ, a frontline history of 1990s club culture.[6][4]

Phillips wrote about politics, poverty and cultural development in Brazil. He contributed to The Washington Post from 2014 to 2016, where he covered Brazil's preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. He also reported on deforestation in Brazil, leading an investigation by The Guardian of large-scale cattle ranches established on cleared forest land.[1] Phillips also contributed to The Times,[2] the Financial Times, Bloomberg News and football magazines.[1]

In June 2022, Phillips was in the Vale do Javari region, researching for a book on sustainable development there. He had received a fellowship from the Alicia Patterson Foundation to write the book, and was aiming to finish it by the end of 2022.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

Phillips married a woman named Nuala, whom he later divorced. In 2013, Phillips met Alessandra Sampaio at a party near his home in Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro. They married in 2015.[2] He lived in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.[1]


Phillips and Brazilian Bruno Pereira, an expert on indigenous peoples of Amazonas, received death threats for helping to protect the people from illegal drug traffickers, miners, loggers, and hunters.[7][8]

Orlando Possuelo, an Indigenous rights activist, said he received a message from Pereira at 6 a.m. on 5 June 2022. Pereira said he and Phillips were going to pass by the riverside community of São Rafael on their way to Atalaia do Norte, in the remote Javari Valley, in the far western part of the state of Amazonas in Brazil, one of the most remote zones in the rainforest. Possuelo arranged to meet Pereira at 8 a.m., but Pereira and Phillips never arrived.[7][8][9] Possuelo said that when they failed to appear, he retraced their steps to the location where they were last seen. Members of an Indigenous surveillance team there told him that a boat belonging to an illegal fisherman had been seen going down the river in the same direction after Pereira’s boat passed.[9] The Brazilian embassy in London released a statement that his body had been found on Monday, 13 June,[10] but retracted it the following day, apologizing to Phillips' family for "information that did not prove correct."[11]

On 15 June, a second man named Amarildo da Costa da Oliveira, who was arrested days before in connection with the case, confessed to shooting and killing Phillips and Pereira and revealed the location of their bodies,[12] confirmed by the Federal Police.[13][14][15] The remains were then discovered by the Brazilian authorities, who sent them to the country’s capital, Brasília, to be examined.[16][13]

On 17 June, the remains that were discovered were identified as belonging to Phillips; these were authenticated through dental records. He was 57 years old.[17][18] As of 18 June, the second body, believed to be that of Pereira, was still being examined.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Schudel, Matt (18 June 2022). "Dom Phillips, journalist who chronicled Amazon deforestation, is dead at 57". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Watts, Jonathan (24 June 2022). "Dom Phillips obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  3. ^ "Remains of British Journalist Dom Phillips Identified, Brazilian Police Say". The New York Times. 17 June 2022. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Cooper, Neil (16 June 2022). "Dom Phillips – The Subterranean". Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  5. ^ Nicas, Jack; Ionova, Ana; Spigariol, André (8 June 2022). "Threats, Then Guns: A Journalist and an Expert Vanish in the Amazon". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "The British journalist was on a reporting trip with Bruno Araújo Pereira in one of the rainforest's remotest zones". 7 June 2022.
  7. ^ a b c Downie, Andrew; Barretto Briso, Caio; Phillips, Tom (8 June 2022). "Brazilian police say 'no evidence of crime' in search for missing journalist". The Guardian.
  8. ^ a b Reverdosa, Juliana Koch,Marcia (7 June 2022). "British journalist and Brazilian indigenous affairs expert missing in the Amazon". CNN.
  9. ^ a b McCoy, Terrence (7 June 2022). "Hopes dim, anger grows in British journalist's disappearance in Brazil". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ "British journalist, indigenous expert found dead in Brazil -report". Reuters. 13 June 2022. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  11. ^ Phillips, Tom (14 June 2022). "Brazil envoy apologises to Dom Phillips' family for saying bodies had been found". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  12. ^ Maisonnave, Fabianno; Barros, Edmar; Savarese, Mauricio (16 June 2022). "Police: Amazon fisherman confesses to killing missing pair". Associated Press.
  13. ^ a b Downie, Andrew (16 June 2022). "Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira: Brazil police find two bodies in search for missing men". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
  14. ^ Carone, Carlos; Pinheiro, Mirelle (15 June 2022). "PF encontra corpos de indigenista e jornalista no AM e conclui caso" [Federal Police find bodies of indigenist and journalist in Amazonas and closes case]. Metrópoles (in Portuguese). Retrieved 16 June 2022.
  15. ^ "PF diz que Amarildo confessou assassinato de indigenista e jornalista no AM; 'remanescentes humanos' encontrados passarão por perícia" [Federal Police says Amarildo confessed murder of indigenist and journalist in Amazonas; 'human remnants' found will undergo forensic examination]. G1 (in Portuguese). 15 June 2022. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
  16. ^ Howie, Michael (16 June 2022). "Human remains found in hunt for British journalist as suspect 'admits killings'". Evening Standard.
  17. ^ Davies, Alys (19 June 2022). "Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira were shot with hunting ammunition, say police". BBC News. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  18. ^ Buschschlüter, Vanessa; Lee, Dulcie (8 June 2022). "Dom Phillips: Missing journalist's wife in tearful plea to step up search". BBC News. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  19. ^ Sabin, Lamiat (18 June 2022). "Remains found in Amazon were of British journalist Dom Phillips, police say". The Independent.

External linksEdit