British police to fly to Thailand to probe brutal murder of two young tourists Skip to main content

British police to fly to Thailand to probe brutal murder of two young tourists

David Cameron personally intervenes to convince Thai leader of need for British expertise in murder case

Hannah Witheridge, 23 and David Miller, 24
Hannah Witheridge, 23 and David Miller, 24, were found dead in September Photo: PA
British police will travel to Thailand to assist the investigation into the brutal murder of two young British tourists.
David Cameron personally intervened to convince the country's military ruler to drop objections to UK investigators joining the probe into the murders of Hannah Witheridge, 23 and David Miller, 24.
British Detectives are to focus on independent checks of DNA samples central to the case against two Burmese men accused of the crime and the truth behind claims to have been mistreated.
They could travel to the country within weeks.
Mr Cameron raised the issue with Thailand's military dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha on the fringes of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan yesterday as petition signed by a 100,000 people demanding a new, independent investigation into the deaths was handed into Downing Street.

It comes as a friend revealed that the ex-boyfriend of a British backpacker killed in Thailand believes police have "pinned" the murder on two men.

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 21-year-old migrant workers from Burma, were arrested earlier this month for the murders of the backpackers whose disfigured bodies were discovered on a beach on the Thai island of Koh Tao on September 15.

The Thai leader had previously rejected offers of help and insisted the UK no longer had "any more doubts" about the quality of the investigation following ambassador-level talks.
But diplomatic sources said he had now accepted the request to send a delegation of British police when pressed on the issue by Mr Cameron at the Milan meeting.

The source said: "Obviously it is for the Thai authorities to lead and carry out that judicial process," a diplomatic source said.

"But it is important that it is fair and transparent and that both of the families can be reassured that it is the murderers that have been brought to justice.

"There are two areas we are particularly concerned about. One if the verification of the DNA samples of the suspects, making sure there is further independent verification.

"And the second is the investigation into allegations of mistreatment of the suspects.
"What the PM secured this morning was agreement from the Thai PM that we can send some British police investigators to Kho Tao to work with the Royal Thai Police on this."

The Thai general is under increasing pressure over his perceived mishandling of the case after a series of experts and human rights charities questioned the quality of the investigation.

Last week the suspects are reported to have retracted their confessions, and reports have emerged that the workers were beaten and threatened with electrocution during interrogation before they provided their confessions, although the Thai police deny this.
The family of Miss Witheridge have raised general concerns that the "right people" are prosecuted for the crime. They said in a statement: "As a family we hope that the right people are found and brought to justice."

It was not clear yesterday how many police officers Mr Cameron hoped to dispatch to the island.

Although a rare move it is not unheard of for British police to be dispatched to aid a struggling investigation. The metropolitan police has so far spent £5 million providing officers and expert teams in the search for missing Madeline McCann.


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