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Michelle Smith attacker pleads guilty to ‘gang robbery causing death’



PHUKET: Surasak Suwannachote, the man on trial for stabbing Australian tourist Michelle Smith in a bungled bag snatch on June 20, appeared at Phuket Provincial Court this morning and confessed to gang robbery resulting in death.

Surin Tadthong, the driver of the motorbike in the attack, denied all charges against him.

Surin’s denial came despite an earlier confession, which he now claims was made to avoid police brutality.

Surin told the court this morning that on the day of the attack he was just taking Surasak to the beach “to hang out”.

When they arrived at the murder scene in Kata, Surasak jumped off the moving motorbike after seeing Mrs Smith. A few minutes, he caught up with Mr Surin and demanded that they leave the area immediately, Mr Surin claimed.

Despite CCTV evidence of Surin at the scene while the attack was carried out, he now maintains that he knew nothing of the crime that night.

Surin told the court that he and Surasak went out to dinner and then for a drink. The next day he went to work as usual.

Surin said he saw the news about the incident after arriving at work the next day, and then fled Phuket.

Before leaving the island, he dumped the knife that Surasak had used in the attack into a canal in Phuket Town. He then made his way home to Samut Sakhon, near Bangkok.

The trial continues this afternoon.

Note: Paragraph five of this story updated on August 6 to reflect that the fact that Mr Surin initially denied being present at the scene when the victim was stabbed.

— Atchaa Khamlo


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