Koh Tao murder victims’ final night retold via CCTV at trial

Two Myanmar men accused of killing a pair of British holidaymakers were seen on CCTV playing guitar near the crime scene, a court heard yesterday, as their lawyer decried the lack of retestable DNA evidence and foreign media reported intimidation.

Migrant workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun are on trial for the murder of 24-year-old David Miller and the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, on Koh Tao island in September.

Both have pleaded not guilty and face the death penalty if convicted over a case which damaged Thailand’s reputation as a tourist haven and saw the police accused of bungling the investigation.

Prosecutors say DNA evidence points toward the two 22-year-old suspects, but the defense alleges that the men have been scapegoated by an under-pressure police force which coerced confessions from the pair.

CCTV images of the British backpackers’ final hours were played to a court on the neighboring island of Koh Samui where the trial is being heard in stages over the next two months.

Reporters are not allowed to take notes during the trial.

Khaosod English reported from the scene and last night published a very detailed account.

Footage from 17 cameras on the island showed the young holidaymakers enjoying a night out with friends.

The prosecution said Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun emerged as potential suspects after they were spotted on CCTV that night playing guitar, smoking and chatting with friends on the same beach where the murders took place.

Witheridge and Miller’s corpses were found on the morning of September 15 amongst rocks nearby.

Police say Miller had been struck by a single blow and left to drown in shallow surf while Witheridge had been raped and then beaten to death with a garden hoe.

Much of the defence’s case has revolved around a bid to retest crucial forensic evidence, including DNA samples taken from the bodies of the victims as well as a condom and cigarettes found at the crime scene.

But Thai police have said there are no more useable samples left to test from those items.

Foreign media covering the trial have reported intimidation by locals. Khaosod English reported that a foreign reporter “was unable to hire a Thai translator after dozens of locals declined the job offer, citing fear from ‘local mafia.’”

Earlier this month a reporter told Coconuts of “low-level intimidation” during the trial’s opening days.

“A local fixer hired on Samui by a TV cew didn’t come back for the second day,” he said. “She said she was scared after a being spoken to outside the court by some guy.”

Before Wednesday’s hearing defense lawyer Nakhon Chomphuchat said the lack of forensic evidence undermined his case which would instead be forced to rely on calling a larger

number of witnesses to the stand.

“But it takes time. I think there is not enough time for all the witnesses to (be) presented,” he told AFP.

The defense have been given six days to lay out their evidence compared to the prosecution’s 12 days.

Members of the victims’ families, who had attended the opening days of the trial two weeks ago, were not present for the latest hearings.

But the mothers of the two defendants, who hail from Myanmar’s impoverished Rakhine state, were in court for the first time Tuesday, bursting into tears as their sons were led into the courtroom.

Story: AFP / Coconuts Bangkok

Related:

Koh Tao murder trial resumes today

Koh Tao Murders: Trial starts tomorrow

OP-ED: Migrants, justice and the Koh Tao murder case

Defense fund created for migrant workers accused of Koh Tao murders

Koh Tao murders: Evidence kept out of reach of defense team

Universal doubts cloud ‘perfect’ Koh Tao murder investigation

Myanmar: Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun are innocent

Migrant workers deny Koh Tao murders in court

Koh Tao Murders: Accused to enter pleas today as victim’s families say evidence against them ‘strong’

‘We share your grief,’ Koh Tao murder suspects write in letter to victims’ parents

British police to compile report on Thailand murders

Koh Tao Murders: No DNA match with Warot in first test results

Koh Tao murders: Influential island figure vows to clear his son’s name

Migrants accused of Koh Tao murders repeat retraction through lawyer

Myanmar’s Thein Sein asks Prayuth for ‘fair’ probe into Koh Tao murders

‘Perfect’ Koh Tao investigation coming apart at seams

Surat Thani prosecutors kick ‘flawed’ Koh Tao investigation report back to police

Koh Tao Murders: Accused recant confessions, tell embassy lawyer they were tortured

Police claim Myanmar worker confesses to Koh Tao murders

Police question influential Koh Tao figure, seek second (Updated)

More DNA evidence collected on Koh Tao as police move on to new field of suspects

Ware released as investigation of Koh Tao murders hits dead end

Police blame ‘jealous’ friend for David and Hannah murders on Koh Tao

Police question backpacker as focus shifts to blonde hair found in victim’s hand

Three Myanmar men questioned for murder of British tourists

Koh Tao murders: ‘Asian man’ seen on CCTV sought for questioning

Probe into murder of two Britons on Koh Tao

Manhunt on Koh Tao after tourists found brutally murdered on beach

British tourists murdered, stripped on Koh Tao beach

Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!



Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


BECOME A COCO+ MEMBER

Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on

Looking to hit up some dining events this Christmas? Check this out

PRESENTED BY

MOST POPULAR