Scotland Yard murder detectives make secret trip to Thai island where two Britons were killed amid concerns Burmese men were wrongly arrested Skip to main content

Scotland Yard murder detectives make secret trip to Thai island where two Britons were killed amid concerns Burmese men were wrongly arrested

  • Three investigators from Scotland Yard, London, have travelled to Koh Tao
  • Believed to have joined two other Met detectives who were already on island
  • Visited spot where bodies of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found
  • British backpackers were bludgeoned to death on the Thai island last month
  • Concerns over arrest of two Burmese men in connection with murder probe
  • Suspects Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun claim they were forced into confession
Scotland Yard murder detectives have travelled in secret to a Thai island where two British backpackers were brutally murdered amid concerns two Burmese bar workers may have been wrongly arrested in connection with their deaths.

The three investigators from London arrived into Koh Tao by helicopter from Bangkok, avoiding the long ferry voyage from the mainland, and visited Sairee Beach where Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were killed last month.

During their visit, the officers, who were joined by two further Met detectives who arrived on the island earlier in the week, asked questions of a handful of local officials, who had been informed of the top-secret visit.
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The investigators from London arrived into Koh Tao by helicopter from Bangkok, avoiding the long ferry voyage from the mainland, and visited Sairee Beach (above) where the British backpackers were killed last month
The investigators from London arrived into Koh Tao by helicopter from Bangkok, avoiding the long ferry voyage from the mainland, and visited Sairee Beach (above) where the British backpackers were killed last month
Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were murdered on Sairee beach on the southern island of Koh Tao
As part of their inspection of the area, the British officers also called at the notorious AC Bar on the waterfront where Miss Witheridge, 23, from Great Yarmouth, and Mr Miller, 24, (pictured) from Jersey, had been drinking
Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were murdered on Sairee beach on the southern island of Koh Tao

Local police were sidelined for the visit and the British officers were accompanied by Jarumporn Suramanee, an advisor to the national police chief, and Suwat Jaengyodsuk, acting deputy commander of Thailand's Metropolitan Police Bureau.

Police Major General Suwat is the chief investigator in the case, who had been assigned earlier by national police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang to take over from regional officers.

Police General Jarumporn is a forensic expert who has been involved in the investigation since the bodies of the couple were discovered on the beach on September 15.

The trip to the beach was kept secret, with no regional police officers being informed, the Bangkok Post reported today.

A source reportedly revealed to the newspaper that at least one British officer is a homicide detective and another is an experienced crime scene expert.

The reason for the secrecy was not officially explained, but observers in Bangkok said the visit reflected the concerns of British authorities about the way the murder inquiry had been conducted. 
Burmese suspects Zaw Lin (left) and Win Zaw Htun (right), both 21, claim they were made their confession under torture and were forced to perform re-enactment of the murder of the two British backpackers
Burmese suspects Zaw Lin (left) and Win Zaw Htun (right), both 21, claim they were made their confession under torture and were forced to perform re-enactment of the murder of the two British backpackers
Police said the arrested men (pictured) had confessed to the crime - despite the fact that the two had yet to appear in court to face any charge and speak for themselves
Police said the arrested men (pictured) had confessed to the crime - despite the fact that the two had yet to appear in court to face any charge and speak for themselves
Thai police have been criticised for allowing bystanders to trample over the crime scene and to have issued a number of conflicting statements as the investigation continued.

Two Burmese men have been arrested for the murders but after allegedly confessing to the crimes, they later retracted their statements claiming they had been forced by torture to admit to carrying out the killings.

During their visit this weekend, the British team not only stood at the water's edge on the beach, but also inspected a nearby residence where the two suspects had been staying.

They also studied an area on the beach where the Burmese men were said to have been seen playing a guitar in the hours before the Britons were murdered.

As part of their inspection of the area, the British officers also called at the notorious AC Bar on the waterfront where Miss Witheridge, 23, from Great Yarmouth, and Mr Miller, 24, from Jersey, had been drinking. 
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha previously said police would not dare arrest the wrong person
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha previously said police would not dare arrest the wrong person
The bodies of the British tourists were found onĀ Sairee Beach in Koh Tao (pictured) on September 15
The bodies of the British tourists were found on Sairee Beach in Koh Tao (pictured) on September 15
A CCTV image shows British backpackers David Miller and Hannah Witheridge in Thailand prior to their deaths
A CCTV image shows British backpackers David Miller and Hannah Witheridge in Thailand prior to their deaths
The Bangkok Post said the Scotland Yard men took pictures of the area before returning to Bangkok.

Their visit is seen as a response to widespread concern about the Thai police investigation, which prompted David Cameron to ask Thai Premier Prayut Chjan-o-cha for permission to send Scotland Yard officers to the island to carry out separate inquiries.

The agreement was reached, but it is understood the London team were told they could only observe and advise and not become actively involved in the ongoing investigation.
The accused men, Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, have been in custody on murder and rape charges since October 2.

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