Burmese trio confess to killing British sailor

PHUKET: Three Burmese men arrested in Satun Tuesday have confessed to the murder of a British man aboard a sailboat.

On Monday night, British couple Malcolm Stuart Robertson and his wife Linda Anne Robertson were resting in separate cabins of their 13-meter sailboat Mr Bean when they were attacked, La-Ngu Police Captain Suppaluk Chatayaporn told the Gazette.

At the time of the attack, Mr Bean was anchored off Dong Island, some 75km from mainland.

Mr Robertson, 64, was killed and his body thrown overboard.

Mrs Robertson, 60, was rescued by police and national park rangers the following day when they discovered the couple’s yacht adrift some 2km north of Khao Yai Island.

Mrs Robertson, who suffered minor injuries after being beaten and tied to the mast of the vessel, was taken to La-Ngu Hospital for treatment.

The semi-retired couple, who had sailed in the region before, were on their way from Phuket to Malaysia’s Langkawi Island, where they planned to leave their yacht and fly back to the UK.

Immigration records showed the couple registered their arrival in Phuket on January 12 and departed March 9.

Mrs Robertson told police that on the night of the attack she was sleeping in her cabin when she heard a sudden commotion above.

There are conflicting media reports as to whether Mrs Robertson was discovered by the pirates below deck or whether she came up on her own.

Then they went towards the forward cabin and I heard my husband shouting ‘Get off my boat’. I heard a scuffle and did not hear any more,” the London Evening Standard quoted her as saying.

According to police, Mrs Robertson was tied to the mast as the pirates sailed the yacht towards the mainland.

On Tuesday fishermen noticed Mr Bean about 60km from the mainland and suspected something strange was happening.

They reported what they saw to Tarutao National Park rangers, who alerted police. When police and rangers approached the yacht 2km north of Khao Yai Island at about 10.30am, the pirates fled in Mr Bean’s inflatable dingy.

Police intercepted the inflatable and arrested them, seizing binoculars, a large knife, a hammer and two laptops belonging to the couple.

The suspects claimed to be fishermen who had been working on a trawler named Vichai 6. They were identified by police only as Mr Ao, 19, Mr Go, 20, and Mr X, 18.

Mr X admitted to killing Mr Robertson with the hammer found in the inflatable. However, he claimed they did not intend to kill Mr Robertson, only to steal the dingy to get to the mainland, Capt. Suppaluk said.

The trio had escaped from harsh and abusive conditions aboard Vichai 6 and had been hiding out on Koh Dong, where they ran out of food. When they spotted Mr and Mrs Robertson’s boat offshore, they waited until the lights dimmed and swam out, the youth said.

Mrs Robertson is recovering in La-Ngu Hospital and relatives are on their way to Thailand to be with her.

Her husband’s body has not yet been recovered.

Phuket News

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