A pianist who worked with SIR Elton John was murdered by robbers for just $180 (GBP100) in Thailand, an inquest concluded yesterday (21SEP06). James Hall, who John once described as "the best pianist I've ever worked with", was beaten to death by three Thai labourers last Christmas (05). The 57-year-old victim had retired in the Far Eastern country just two months prior to his death, the inquest in his hometown of Sunderland, England heard. The assailants have since been jailed for 30 years each. A coroner recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.