Murder of two backpackers on the island of Koh Tao

SAIREE BEACH, KOH TAO, THAILAND – SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 British tourists Hannah Witheridge (23 years old) and David Miller (24 years old) enjoyed their holiday in Thailand on the famous island of Koh Tao. On the fateful night, they were in the bar “AC Bar” until 1 in the morning, where they were drinking together with 50 other people, mostly tourists.

Hannah Witheridge & David Miller

A few hours later (between 4 and 5 am) their bodies were found butchered on Sairee Beach. Both victims were apparently hit in the head with a blunt object. Miller was drowned. Hannah was left completely naked in a very sexual position, which immediately suggested that it might have been a rape-motivated murder.

The investigation confirmed all the assumptions mentioned above. The attackers used a hoe, which was found nearby with traces of blood. Hannah and her whole head were brutally beaten. They hit David several times, probably when he tried to defend her, and left him to drown in the sea. A used condom was also found near the dead bodies. An autopsy later confirmed that Hannah had been raped. A bite on Hannah’s right nipple and a tear in Hannah’s vaginal septum were found. Swabs of her vagina were then sent for DNA expertise.

Along with the investigation, the police closed the harbor and the entire island so that the potential perpetrators could not escape. Considering that a significant part of the Thai economy is tourism, the police were under great pressure to find the perpetrators. A series of interrogations began and the DNA swabs from Hannah’s vagina were compared to the database and samples of all the interviewees. Meanwhile, the murders caused a wave of solidarity among local residents, who apologized on behalf of Thailand and held rallies in memory of Hannah and David.

A message from the Thais

Two weeks after the murder, two migrants from Burma, Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, confessed to the crime. DNA tests also confirmed their guilt. The trial lasted a full 18 days and began on July 8, 2015. Both were sentenced to death. In 2020, the king issued a special royal decree and changed their sentences to life imprisonment.

However, the entire case of the investigation carries with it a number of doubts. The Thai authorities focused primarily on interrogating migrants. It is rumored that the condemned were tortured for hours to get them to confess. They were also denied the right to a legal representative for a time. The case also sparked a wave of protests across Thailand. The protesters demanded a fair investigation into the case.



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 Date: 24/11/2022  Views: 42022  Comments: 15  Votes: 19

 Category: Murders

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