Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thailand: Update--Migrant Workers Ruled Out as Suspects in Double-Homicide of British Couple

According to the UK-based The Daily Mail, DNA found on the body of one of two British backpackers murdered in Thailand last weekend has not matched any of the twelve suspects, police revealed today (September 18).

Officers previously said they had "strong evidence" linking six Burmese migrant workers to the deaths of British nationals David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, whose semi-naked bodies were discovered on a beach in Koh Tao on Monday (September 15).

Yet, as of Thursday neither the DNA found on Ms. Witheridge's remains, nor that on a cigarette butt, matched any of the twelve suspects.

Investigators, who believe there was more than one assailant and more than one murder weapon, had taken DNA from nine migrant workers and three foreigners--including two Britons from Jersey.

The bodies of David Miller and Hannah Witheridge were found near this area of the beach on the Thai island of Koh Tao. An autopsy revealed Miller attempted to repel his attackers before drowning.

Thai police had said British brothers Christopher and James Ware could not be ruled out, and prevented them from leaving Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International airport (BKK) as they endeavored to flee to the UK.

It's understood that the Ware brothers had shared a room with Miller at the Ocean View Bungalows, where Ms. Witheridge was also staying.

It is unknown as to what the next move is for the Royal Thai Police or whether the Wares brothers will be cleared to return to the UK.

More than 70 Thai police have been questioning migrant workers and tourists on the island, visiting hotels, bars, homes and businesses as they search for the assailants(s).

What is known is that Miller fought off his assailants before being battered severely beaten about the head and shoulders and  dragged into the sea and left to drown.

An autopsy on Ms. Witheridge's body found that she had also suffered trauma to her head and revealed evidence of sexual activity shortly before she died. Yet, MG Pornchai said analysis tests did not necessarily indicate that she had been raped as initially thought.

COMMENT: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha made an instinctive comment about whether bikinis are high-risk apparel in the Kingdom, which prompted an angry response from Witheridge's MP, Brandon Lewis.

According to details released by police, Witheridge and Miller attended a beach party on Koh Tao before slipping away together to be alone for a quiet stroll at roughly 0100 hours on Monday. 

Their semi-naked bodies were discovered on the beach near rocks 100 yards from the scene of the party at the Ocean View complex where they were rented separate rooms.

The murder victims are believed to have met three nights before they were killed, while holidaying with separate groups of friends at the island’s Sairee beach resort.

As a matter of interest, 389 Britons died in Thailand last year. 

This report will be updated as new information is received.

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