BANGKOK (The Nation): The parents of British backpackers Vanessa Arscott and Adam Lloyd, who were murdered by an off-duty police sergeant in Kanchanaburi province in September, have reacted with fury at the “secret” release of the policeman on bail.
They now plan to fly to Bnagkok to meet with, among others, the Ministry of Justice and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
A British Foreign Office spokesman in London says that “concerns” have been expressed to the Foreign Ministry in Bangkok.
Following the hushed release of Sergeant Somchai Visetsingha on November 4, the British Foreign Office expressed the belief that something was not quite right with the policeman’s departure from police custody.
“We too are concerned at the release of the prime suspect in the murder of Vanessa and Adam. The decision to release the suspect on bail was taken by the Thai authorities and was not publicly announced until November 9. Adam and Vanessa were victims of a senseless murder, and our sympathy remains with their families and friends.”
Somchai was set free despite having confessed to the murders when he was arrested, and despite having fled into hiding along the Thai-Burmese border for a month immediately following the crime.
Graham Arscott, father of the 23-year-old Vanessa, told The Nation: “We want to know why Sergeant Somchai… [was released], since he has already admitted the murders…. I do not believe that the Thai people believe that this policeman should be free.”
Adam’s father, 57-year-old Brian Lloyd, a retired banker, said: “Our children have been murdered. It took the Thai police a month to catch the suspect, one of their own, so it seems incredible that he coud have been released on bail.”
Somchai has not apologized to Lloyd’s parents, but has told Arscott’s that he was sorry that “she got in the way of the bullets”.
The victims were murdered on the pavement in downtown Kanchanaburi following an argument in Somchai’s restaurant in the early morning hours of September 10. Somchai surrendered to police near the Burmese border on October 7.
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