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Thai murders evidence re-examined

Published 30/04/2015

David Miller, 24, from Jersey, who was found murdered alongside Hannah Witheridge on a beach on the Thai island of Koh Tao
David Miller, 24, from Jersey, who was found murdered alongside Hannah Witheridge on a beach on the Thai island of Koh Tao

Defence lawyers representing two men accused of murdering a pair of British backpackers in Thailand said a fair trial for them is "more likely than expected" after a court ordered key evidence to be re-examined.

Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk, and David Miller, 24, from Jersey, were killed on the island of Koh Tao last September.

Migrants Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 21-year-old bar workers from Burma, are accused of murder. They also face a rape charge and are set to stand trial for 18 days, beginning on July 8.

Their defence team's request for physical, forensic and DNA evidence to be sent for independent verification was approved today at a pre-trial hearing in a court on Koh Samui.

Lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat, who is representing the men, said: "The Koh Tao defence team is delighted that the court orders independent testing of case forensic and DNA evidence by their chosen experts.

"After the Samui court ordered independent forensics examination, a fair and just Koh Tao case trial (is) more likely than expected."

The court said it would immediately issue letters to the relevant authorities ordering them to send the evidence to the Thai Ministry of Justice's Central Institute of Forensic Science for re-examination.

It also claimed to be committed to ensuring that the trial is independent and transparent, open to both the public and the media.

The defendants are said to have confessed under pressure from local police shortly after the killings but have since retracted those statements.

Both of the victims' families have previously said they are keen to see the "right people" convicted.

The Witheridge family recently announced they had raised enough money to attend the trial through an internet appeal.

Writing online, Miss Witheridge's sister, Laura said: "The past six months have been indescribably horrific, I would never be able to expose the hell that our family has endured."

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