الأربعاء , مايو 19 2021

Two on trial over Thai beach deaths

The men accused of the murder of two British tourists on the island of Koh Tao have gone on trial in Thailand.

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo deny killing David Miller, 24, from Jersey, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. The pair also deny rape.

The backpackers’ bodies were found on a beach last September.

Their families have travelled to the nearby island of Koh Samui where the two migrant workers from Myanmar, also known as Burma, have gone on trial.

Mr Miller’s family said they hoped justice would be done “fairly and openly”, while Ms Witheridge’s relatives said both families were “united in grief”.

“We of course want to see those responsible for the brutal murder of our precious girl brought to justice,” they said ahead of the trial.


Zaw Lin, front, and Wai Phyo (also known as Win Zaw Htun), rear, arrive at the court in Koh Samui

The BBC’s Jonah Fisher, in court, said the accused, who he described as young men of slight build, were brought to court in chains.

The first police officer called to the scene of the killings was the first witness to give evidence.

Lieutenant Jakrapan Kaewkao explained how the bodies, both of which were mostly unclothed, were found a few metres apart on a beach on Koh Tao.

Ms Witheridge’s body bore signs of physical assault, said Lieutenant Kaewkao, a witness for the prosecution.

A doctor who examined the bodies of the two Britons is expected to be called later.

‘Truth revealed’

The two accused were arrested several weeks after the bodies were found.

Police say DNA tests link both men to Ms Witheridge’s body.

The defence have called for this DNA evidence to be independently re-tested, alleging the men have been framed.

As he walked into the courtroom, defence lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat said he hoped the trial would be fair.

“We hope the truth will be revealed,” he said.

“We hope the mechanism of justice in Thailand… will have the same standards of international countries.”

Verdicts in the case are not expected until October.

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