Thailand backpacker murders: Burmese workers face death penalty over Hannah Witheridge and David Miller killings Skip to main content

Thailand backpacker murders: Burmese workers face death penalty over Hannah Witheridge and David Miller killings



Two Burmese workers have been convicted of the murder of two British backpackers in Thailand.

Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk, and 24-year-old David Miller, from Jersey, were killed by Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, a judge ruled.

The case had been mired in criticism over the judicial process, with international human rights observers criticising the Thai authorities handling of the case.

But sentencing on Wednesday, the judge ruled the DNA evidence used to connect the two men, both 22 years old, to the brutal rape and double murder was “up to international standard”.

Mr Miller’s brother Michael, standing alongside parents Ian and Sue, said the court had reached the “correct decision”. Ms Witheridge’s family did not attend the final trial, although they had visited Thailand in order to witness the process.

"We believe the result today represents justice for David and Hannah," Michael Miller said outside court. “We came to realise that the police investigation and the forensic work performed was not the so-called shambles it was made out to be.”

The bodies of Ms Witheridge, who was raped before being killed, and Mr Miller, who died after being struck from behind by an object and then drowned in the sea, were found on a beach on the island of Koh Tao on 15 September last year.

In the wake of the killings, amid international media attention, Thai authorities scrambled to make an arrest.

DNA evidence collected from cigarette butts, a condom and the bodies of the victims, linked Lin and Phyo to the scene, prosecutors argued. The weight of the case rested on sperm collected from Ms Witheridge’s body, which was alleged to link the men to the attack, but an independent assessment was blocked after police admitting destroying the evidence.

However, defence teams claimed the alleged murder weapon, a garden hoe, did not contain any DNA that matched either defendant.

While both men initially admitted to killing the pair, claiming their were motivated by sexual jealousy after seeing them together, they later retratcted their statements claimging they had been obtained under pressure.

“There are credible allegations that these two young men were tortured into ‘confessing,’ and we know that they have been subjected to numerous unfair trial practices,” Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at international human rights charity Reprieve, told the Guardian.

“No one would disagree that those responsible for this crime need to be held to account. But it is hard to see how a trial as flawed and unfair as this one can provide any confidence that justice has been served.”

It is believed the two men’s defence teams will appeal the death penalty, although this could take several months.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/koh-tao-backpackers-murder-burmese-workers-convicted-of-murder-of-hannah-witheridge-and-david-miller-a6785096.html

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Chronology of the Press in Burma

1836 – 1846 * During this period the first English-language newspaper was launched under British-ruled Tenasserim, southern  Burma . The first ethnic Karen-language and Burmese-language newspapers also appear in this period.     March 3, 1836 —The first English-language newspaper,  The Maulmain Chronicle , appears in the city of Moulmein in British-ruled Tenasserim. The paper, first published by a British official named E.A. Blundell, continued up until the 1950s. September 1842 —Tavoy’s  Hsa-tu-gaw  (the  Morning Star ), a monthly publication in the Karen-language of  Sgaw ,  is established by the Baptist mission. It is the first ethnic language newspaper. Circulation reached about three hundred until its publication ceased in 1849. January 1843 —The Baptist mission publishes a monthly newspaper, the Christian  Dhamma  Thadinsa  (the  Religious Herald ), in Moulmein. Supposedly the first Burmese-language newspaper, it continued up until the first year of the second Angl

Thai penis whitening trend raises eyebrows

Image copyright LELUXHOSPITAL Image caption Authorities warn the procedure could be quite painful A supposed trend of penis whitening has captivated Thailand in recent days and left it asking if the country's beauty industry is taking things too far. Skin whitening is nothing new in many Asian countries, where darker skin is often associated with outdoor labour, therefore, being poorer. But even so, when a clip of a clinic's latest intriguing procedure was posted online, it quickly went viral. Thailand's health ministry has since issued a warning over the procedure. The BBC Thai service spoke to one patient who had undergone the treatment, who told them: "I wanted to feel more confident in my swimming briefs". The 30-year-old said his first session of several was two months ago, and he had since seen a definite change in the shade. 'What for?' The original Facebook post from the clinic offering the treatment, which uses lasers to break do

Myanmar Villagers Tell of 150 Homes Burned in Deadly Army Air Attacks

Artillery fire and aerial bombardments by Myanmar forces killed three civilians and burned scores of houses in their communities in mid-March amid fighting between Myanmar forces and the rebel Arakan Army in war-ravaged Rakhine state, villagers recounted Monday at a press conference. Villagers from Kyauktaw township in western Myanmar's Rakhine state discuss the government military's attacks on their communities at press conference in Sittwe, March 30, 2020. They made the comments after traveling from in Kyauktaw township to the state capital Sittwe to give testimony on a series of attacks on civilian dwellings amid a government-imposed internet shutdown in nine townships in Rakhine and neighboring Chin state, cutting off vital information about the fighting. They villagers accused the Myanmar Army of conducting an aerial bombing on civilian communities that destroyed about 150 homes and a monastery in Pyaing Taing village, while government soldiers on the g