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Two admit murder of tourists as DNA ties them to scene

Two Myanmar workers have confessed to killing two British tourists in Thailand and a DNA match has been found, police said today, adding that a case that damaged the country's tourism industry had almost been resolved.

The bodies of David Miller (24) and Hannah Witheridge (23) were discovered on a beach on Koh Tao, or Turtle Island, in the south of the country on September 15, close to the hotel where they had been staying.

"The suspects admitted that they are the real culprits. So we have brought both to do a reconstruction (of the crime)", national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said.

The men, identified by police as "Saw" and "Win", wore white motorcycle helmets and handcuffs as they took part in the re-enactment, a common practice in Thai murder cases.

The pair raped Witheridge before killing her, Somyot told reporters in Koh Tao, adding that the DNA of the two men matched DNA found on the deceased.

The news follows weeks of pressure on police to find the murderers and growing criticism of authorities over the standard of the investigation, from not sealing off the crime scene quickly enough to letting potential suspects leave the island.

With two suspects in custody, police were gathering evidence and would seek an arrest warrant from a court, deputy national police chief Jaktip Chaijinda said.

"Today the case should be finished because we want to clear this up as soon as possible so our tourism industry can bounce back," Jaktip said.

Miller died from drowning and blows to the head, while Witheridge died from severe head wounds, post-mortem examinations showed.

Somyot attributed the crime to sexual jealousy. "The suspects saw them kissing and were aroused, so they attacked and got rid of the man and proceeded to rape the female victim."