Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Thailand murder trial adjourned

The trial of two Burmese men charged in connection with the murder of two British tourists in Thailand has been adjourned to July.

Migrant workers Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, both 21, are accused of killing David Miller, 24, from Jersey, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

The pair protested their innocence again today at an all-day hearing on the island of Koh Samui attended by their relatives.

A judge set a trial date for July 8, when the case is expected to resume with evidence from prosecution witnesses.

The judge also rejected a plea from the defence to delay proceedings until they could further prepare their case.

Before today's unexpected hearing the trial had been expected to start in February.

The victims' bodies were found with severe head wounds on a beach on the holiday island of Koh Tao on September 15.

Police claimed that Ms Witheridge was raped during the attack and that two semen samples had been found on her body.

The two suspects retracted confessions initially made to police in October, claiming that they had only confessed after being beaten and threatened by officers.

Thai police have been criticised for their failure to secure the crime scene and releasing the names and pictures of suspects who were not subsequently charged.

At a hearing earlier this month the pair's lawyer, Nakorn Chompoochart, said they had pleaded not guilty to several charges relating to the deaths.

They are accused of conspiracy to commit murder, rape, criminal cover-up, illegally entering Thailand and staying in the country without permission, according to previous court papers reportedly seen by the BBC.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We continue to monitor the case closely and expect the trial to be conducted in a fair and transparent way in line with international standards.

"The British government cannot interfere with Thailand's judicial processes just as other government's are unable to interfere in UK judicial processes.

"We continue to provide support and assistance to both the families of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller."

About 2.5 million people from Burma work in Thailand, most as domestic servants or industries such as construction, fisheries or the garment sector.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph