Talbot murder trial to start next January.

PHUKET CITY: Phuket Provincial Court Judge Yupawan Pirisinsith was briefed this morning on defense and prosecution witness lists in the case of Briton Paul Chetwynd-Talbot, accused of murdering his girlfriend, fellow Briton Debra O’Hanlon.

The judge scheduled the next hearing in the case for January 18 next year, to allow the prosecution time to question eight witnesses.

Judge Yupawan, who will decide at that time what charges may be brought against the accused, instructed the prosecution to focus on forensic evidence given by doctors who examined the body of Ms O’Hanlon.

Kathu Police recommended that Chetwynd-Talbot be tried for murder.

Ms O’Hanlon’s body was discovered with a broken neck in the couple’s rented room at the Eric Guesthouse on Nanai Rd on July 31, 2005.

Chetwynd-Talbot turned himself in to Kathu Police three days later and confessed to hitting Ms O’Hanlon in the face. He claimed the force of the blow caused her to fall back against the bed head, breaking her neck.

Bound in leg irons and handcuffs, Chetwynd Talbot appeared healthy but dejected during today’s hearing, which lasted just 10 minutes.

Defense attorney Somsak Chattay told the court that because the autopsy report revealed that no weapon was used against Ms O’Hanlon, the charge should be one of inflicting injury resulting in accidental death, punishable by three to 15 years imprisonment.

The murder charge, in contrast, carries a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life imprisonment.

K. Somsak also presented the court with an autopsy report from Patong Hospital that showed the cause of death to be a combination of brain hemorrhage and a complete neck fracture.

“I want this charge changed from murder to inflicting injury resulting in accidental death,” he said. “Paul never intended to kill Ms O’Hanlon.”

After the hearing Chetwynd-Talbot was returned to Phuket Provincial Prison, where he will stay until the next hearing. No bail request was made. If he is found guilty, time already served may be deducted from the sentence.

Phuket News

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