“Jealous’ man admits stabbing Brit

KRABI: The taxi driver who allegedly stabbed Briton Richard Mark Collins to death in a jealous rage on the evening of March 8 has confessed to killing Mr Collins, but claims he acted in self-defense.

The suspect, 29-year-old Uthane Douangnoi, is being held in the Krabi Provincial Court jail while he awaits a court appearance on a charge of murder.

According to a statement given to police by the suspect’s former common-law wife, 26-year-old Sunisa Sirirod, Uthane acted out of jealousy after he mistakenly thought the Briton was romantically involved with her.

Sunisa, who operates a tour agency and employed her ex-husband as a driver, told the Gazette that she had been friends with Collins, a native of Hereford, England, for about three years.

She described her relationship with Collins as “platonic”. She said that Collins had visited the province several times previously, but had never before met her ex-husband.

Sunisa said she had agreed to pick up Collins and his girlfriend, Panida Meedi, 24, from Krabi Airport at 11 am on the morning of March 8. The couple were on holiday from Bangkok, where Collins was employed on the Suvarnabhumi Airport project.

Together with her roommate Somjai Srikate, Sunisa picked the couple up from the airport and took them to their room at the Greenery Hotel in Krabi Town. The four made arrangements to meet later on at the hotel and then have dinner at a restaurant in Ao Nang at 7:30.

“I picked up them up at the hotel and I let Mr Collins drive while I sat next to him in the front seat, with Somjai and Panida in the back. My ex-husband Uthane may have seen us together because we passed his taxi in Krabi Town. This may have made him jealous,” she said.

“Coming back from dinner, we continued to drink in a bar downtown. Ten minutes later, Uthane called me and asked me why I was out partying with Collins … I told him we were just friends and that Collins was here with his girlfriend. But he said that he needed to talk to Collins and asked me to bring him to his house,” she said.

Although they were no longer husband and wife, Uthane lived just two doors away from Sunisa at 289/12 Uttrarakit Rd, one in a row of townhouses in Tambon Paknum, Muang District.

“I decided to return home with K. Somjai. When I got there, Uthane came over asking where Mr Collins was. He said that if I didn’t bring Mr Collins to talk to him, then he would go confront him in the bar where he had stayed on drinking with his girlfriend.

“So I called Mr Collins on the phone and told him my ex-husband wanted to speak to him,” she said, adding that Uthane was already drunk from having had two small bottles of Singha beer.

“So I asked my friend Somjai to pick up Mr Collins by motorcycle, take his girlfriend back to the hotel, and return to my home with Mr Collins so that he could speak to Uthane to clear up the misunderstanding,” she said.

Sensing trouble, she called the emergency 191 number after Somjai had left to pick up Mr Collins.

Somjai soon returned to Sunisa’s home with Mr Collins, leaving Panida in the bar. They then went to see Uthane.

“Uthane first told Mr Collins to wait. He then came back with a photo album showing our wedding pictures [to get the point across that Sunisa and he had been married]. He had a small knife tucked away in his trousers, in the small of his back. He threatened to kill all three of us if we couldn’t [solve] the matter by talking

“I tried to protect Mr Collins by standing in front of him, but soon after that they started exchanging heavy blows and both of them fell to the floor. Uthane got up and drew his knife, but Mr Collins was able to grab his wrist and prevent Uthane from stabbing him with it. Then Mr Collins ran out of the house, with Uthane chasing him.

“When I got outside, I saw Mr Collins had wrestled Uthane to the ground. But from below, Uthane had stabbed him twice, once in the stomach and once near the heart,” she said.

Before Uthane had a chance to flee, police arrived with members of the Poh Tek Tung Rescue Foundation. The police took Uthane into custody and Mr Collins was rushed to Krabi Hospital.

“It was only five minutes from my house to the hospital. I rode in the rescue vehicle with Mr Collins, desperately trying to keep him from losing consciousness. He later died at the hospital,” she said.

“I am still in shock and I haven’t had a chance to say anything to Mr Collins’s girlfriend. It was all a misunderstanding,”she said.

Pol Lt Col Charkra Saowakol of Krabi’s Muang District Police told the Gazette that Uthane would be charged with premeditated murder.

If found guilty he would be subject to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The sentence could be reduced if he confessed to the charges, Col Charkra said.

Physical evidence from the crime scene, including the bloody knife, has already been sent for analysis to the Police Forensic Science Office in Bangkok, he added.

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