Jennings Murder Trial Resumes

PHUKET TOWN: The court trying two people accused in connection with the murder of Patong-based British publican Roger Jennings reopened on March 24 to hear evidence from two witnesses. Jennings (56), was found stabbed to death at his home in Patong Hill Estate, a residential development between Le Meridien Phuket and Patong, on December 15, 1997. On trial before Phuket Provincial Court Judge Amornpoj Kulwijit are Nongnut Tungkaburi, Jennings’ common-law wife, and Kraisorn Kamnoun. The first witness, Santi Thonchaiyapoom, 25, a gardener at Patong Hill Estate, testified that apart from Jennings, three people lived in the Patong Hill Estate home — Nongnut, the housekeeper Ms Da, and a Mr. Wat, whose full names he could not recall. Santi said he lived in a separate building. He testified that on the day of the murder, around 5pm, Nongnut took him and his wife Jongjitr to dinner at a restaurant near Patong Beach. There they met Da and Wat, accompanied by the Jennings family dogs. At 8pm, Santi said, Nongnut went to the Alice Bar on Soi Bangla, which was owned by Jennings and operated by her. Meanwhile he, Jongjitr, Da and Wat went to Phuket Town, returning home about 10:30pm. Minutes after they arrived there, Da ran out of Jennings’ house and said that Jennings had been murdered. Santi rushed to the Alice Bar to tell Nongnut and then to notify the police. When the police arrived at the scene of the murder, they found Jennings’ body at the foot of the stairs. He was dead of multiple stab wounds. When the Prosecutor, Chestavit Tantiphanwadee, asked Santi whether Nongnut was in the habit of taking household staff out to dinner, Santi replied, “Never.” The witness added that the family dogs normally guarded Jennings’ house and usually did not leave it. At the time of the murder, Santi added, Jennings was alone in the house. Asked by the prosecutor whether he had ever seen the second accused, Kraisorn, Santi replied that he had not. The second witness, Weeranat Kammanochart, was a cashier at the Alice Bar at the time of the murder. The prosecutor asked him first whether he knew Wattana Yajaiman. Weeranat replied that he did. On the day of the killing, he said, he went to the Alice Bar around 4:30pm, where he saw Wattana and Nongnut. Later, he added, both of them left the bar, though he could not recall whether they left together. Weeranat testified that around 10:30pm Wattana returned and told him that Nongnut needed 4,000 baht. Weeranat gave the money to Wattana to give to her. He said that he could not recall when Nongnut returned to the bar, but said that she was there when, a couple of hours later, Da came into the bar and gave her the news that Jennings had been killed. The trial resumes on April 29.

Phuket News

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