herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Body of Thai murder victim Hannah home as police probe 'jealousy' line

The body of a British holidaymaker who was murdered together with a fellow tourist in Thailand has been returned to the UK, her family said.

Hannah Witheridge (23) was found with severe head wounds next to David Miller (24) on a beach on the island of Koh Tao last Monday.

Her family said they had travelled to Bangkok on Tuesday to bring their "beloved Hannah" home and find out more about the investigation.

In a statement they said: "We can confirm that we have now returned to the UK with our beautiful Hannah.

"As a family we feel enormous relief to have Hannah back at home where she belongs.

"We continue to work closely with officers to assist in the investigation and bring those responsible to justice.

"Our family is broken and require time to grieve in private - as do Hannah's many friends. With the support of our fantastic family liaison officers we will make further statements as required and when we feel able.

"As such, we would be very grateful for time and privacy to try and come to terms with our devastating news."

Meanwhile, police in Thailand said they are investigating new evidence suggesting that the murders may have been due to "sexual jealousy".

A spokesman for the Royal Thai Police said that the force was also looking into claims that the pair had a row with a Thai man in a bar before they were killed.

relationship

Col Kissana Phathanacharoen said: "We have discovered fresh evidence which could lead to a new suspect who may have had a relationship or one-night stand with Hannah or one of her friends or David the night before they were killed.

"We have asked the Metropolitan Police to go back and make enquiries of Hannah's friends on this matter.

"The liaison officer here in Bangkok is working on getting that statement. The faster we get it, the faster we may be able to get the bad guy.

"No lines of inquiry can be ruled out and we believe these crimes could have been motivated by sexual jealousy.

"Police have been made aware of reports that Hannah and David had a fight in a bar with a Thai man before they were killed, but cannot confirm if they are true."

Post-mortem examinations revealed that Ms Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, died from head wounds while Mr Miller, from Jersey, was killed by severe blows to the head and drowning.

A bloodstained garden hoe, which is believed to have been the murder weapon, was found nearby.

Thai police are offering a cash reward worth about €5,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the killer.

Around 150 officers have been deployed on the island, and senior police officials met with Ms Witheridge's family.

Police said yesterday that they were looking for more than one suspect following unconfirmed reports that the DNA of two Asian men had been found on Ms Witheridge's body.

Two British brothers were questioned by police but later told they were free to return home.

hnews@herald.ie

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