Connect with us


Koh Tao Murders: Police turn focus to friends of slain man




– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Koh Tao Murders: Police turn focus to friends of slain man
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police investigation into the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao last Sunday has shifted from migrant workers to friends of the male victim, while autopsy results have provided revealing information about the gruesome crimes.

Pol Lt-General Panya Mamen, commander of Police Region 8, said yesterday that British citizen Christopher Alan Ware, a travel companion of victim David William Miller, had cooperated in giving information to the police in an interview at the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok. Samples of Ware’s DNA had also been collected since he was on Koh Tao.

Police are giving most weight to scientifically proven evidence from the autopsies, Panya added.

A police source, quoting an Institute of Forensic Medicine (IFM) scientist, Pol Major Kaywalee Janphan, said DNA-based identification of a single blond hair found in the hand of the other victim, Hannah Victoria Witheridge, was not possible, because the hair’s cell was not intact.

Police had interviewed six migrant workers and a number of Thais, he said. Three female friends of Witheridge had also been interviewed and were allow-ed to return to Britain.

Panya said an extra 150 members of the Tourist and Marine Police had been deployed on Koh Tao and at piers on the coast of neighbouring Chumphon province to heighten security and boost tourists’ confidence.

Deputy police chief General Somyot Poompanmoung said earlier that police had asked two friends of Miller to remain in Thailand for 48 hours pending analysis of DNA samples collected from the victims’ bodies.

Miller’s friends, whom Somyot did not identify, were at Suvarnabhumi Airport, about to leave Thailand. “We have asked the British Embassy in Thailand to ask for their cooperation in staying in Thailand while the investigation continues.”

Police on Tuesday night ruled out three Myanmar workers as suspects after interviewing them and searching their rooms. Panya was quoted as saying that the three men had been very far from the scene of the double murders, adding that DNA samples had been collected from them.

The post-mortem report on Miller’s body has revealed that his death resulted from blows to the head and drowning, Pol Colonel Dr Pornchai Sutheerakune, commander of the IFM, said yesterday.

Water was found in Miller’s lungs, his body showed traces of being dragged and there were wounds on the back of his hands, Pornchai said. The findings indicate that he fought with his attackers, was beaten and then drowned, the doctor said.

The autopsy on Witheridge, whose body was found near Miller’s, showed she also had trauma to the head. There were also traces of recent intercourse and semen was found on her body.

The doctors will use the semen to try and identify the culprit, comparing the DNA samples collected from the bodies with those from suspects.

The doctor said he could not tell what had been used to beat the victims, other than it was a blunt object. The time of death is not known because the bodies had been frozen before autopsy.

The bodies can be reclaimed by the victims’ families now that the autopsies have been completed.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn sent a condolence letter to his British counterpart Philip Hammond, saying he felt “profound regret and sadness” over the deaths.

“On behalf of the Royal Thai Government and the people of Thailand, I would like to extend to you and, through you, our sincere condolences and sympathy to the bereaved families for their irreparable loss,” the note read.

He further said that he wished to reassure future travellers that the government gave priority to protecting foreign nationals visiting and residing in Thailand.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Travel24 mins ago

Bangkok’s best health massage and spa: The ultimate pampering experience

Drugs27 mins ago

Raid finds all monks on drugs in Phetchabun temple

Thailand49 mins ago

Thai officials plan to nominate historic park for World Heritage status

Sponsored2 hours ago

Challenges of starting a business in Thailand as a foreigner

Thailand54 mins ago

British man injured in hit-and-run incident in Pattaya

Transport1 hour ago

Airports of Thailand streamlining procedures, adding staff

Health1 hour ago

The WHO rename monkeypox to avoid racist stereotypes

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand2 hours ago

Murderer offers 100,000 baht to netizens to cut off his EM ankle bracelet | GMT

Crime2 hours ago

Man claims he thought illegal whale bones were wood

Pattaya2 hours ago

Pattaya’s Walk and Eat food festival coming up

Environment17 hours ago

Sea turtle choked to death on plastic waste

Thailand17 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Big Feast For Monkeys At Lopburi Festival

South18 hours ago

Buddhists and Muslims rally for peace together in South Thailand

Thailand18 hours ago

Cowardly rapist arrested for a fifth time in Isaan

Songkhla19 hours ago

Russian crewman’s hand cut off in Songkhla ship accident

Transport19 hours ago

Cat out of the bag – Stowaway found in JFK passenger’s luggage

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11