Police parade ‘Britons’ killers’

These are the two Burmese workers said by police to have confessed to killing two British tourists on a Thai holiday island last month.

Friday, 3rd October 2014, 2:07 pm
The suspects

Police paraded the two men, whose names were given only as Saw, and Win, at a news conference.

They sat quietly on the ground, wearing casual clothes and hard hats, and surrounded by a dozen police officers.

The country’s national police chief, General Somyot Poompanmoung, has said they face charges of murder, rape and theft.

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The battered bodies of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were discovered on a beach on Koh Tao on September 15.

General Poompanmoung said DNA results, CCTV footage and other evidence had supported the men’s confessions that they raped and killed Ms Witheridge and murdered Mr Miller.

Earlier, Colonel Kissana Phathanacharoen suggested that detectives were confident of a breakthrough in the hunt for the killers, confirming that suspects being held on immigration charges had provided “useful information” in relation to the case.

The deputy police spokesman told the Press Association: “We have made very good progress during our investigation so far.”

Yesterday it was reported that two of three Burmese workers questioned by police had admitted murdering the couple while another man denied involvement.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Lieutenant General Panya Mamen, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 8, said: “Two of the suspects raped and killed Witheridge while another one witnessed the murder.”

Colonel Phathanacharoen defended the investigation, which has come under close scrutiny after changing direction on a number of occasions as police appeared to be struggling to identify those responsible.

Last week a reward of 700,000 baht - roughly £13,300 - was offered for information leading to the arrests of the killers, while around 150 officers were posted to the island.

“Royal Thai police are committed to arresting the offenders,” he said. “We have worked round the clock since day one.

“High-ranking officials have placed great emphasis on this case. We have followed the standard operating procedures during our investigation.”

He said they had conducted a crime scene reconstruction “in order to get a sense of what happened” as well as carrying out DNA tests and gathering forensic and CCTV evidence.

“We have also received useful information from the locals,” he said.

Post-mortem examinations revealed that Ms Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, died from head wounds, while Mr Miller, from Jersey, was killed by severe blows to the head and drowning. A bloodstained garden hoe was found near the scene.

Officers have collected 200 DNA samples from people on the island after two different semen samples were obtained from Miss Witheridge’s body.

Mr Miller’s father, Ian, has said he believes his son stepped in to help Miss Witheridge.