Saturday 25 November 2017

'What's the fuss?' Thai police told family of backpacker stabbed to death on beach

Undated handout file photos issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24
Undated handout file photos issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24
Myanmar migrants Win Zaw Htun, right, and Zaw Lin, left, both 22, are escorted by officials after their guilty verdict at court in Koh Samui, Thailand, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015

Ben Kendall

The sister of a British backpacker murdered in Thailand has attacked the country's authorities for dismissing her family's grief.

Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were brutally murdered on a beach on the island of Koh Tao in September 2014.

Miss Witheridge, from Hemsby in Norfolk, had been raped before she was killed, while Mr Miller, from Jersey, had been hit over the head before drowning in the sea.

Bar workers Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, also known as Win Zaw Htun, were found guilty of their murders last month but are challenging the verdict.

Laura Witheridge has now written a lengthy Facebook post describing her family's experience following the death of British tourist Luke Miller on Koh Tao over the weekend.

Miss Witheridge also described how she had received death threats and had been sent disturbing crime scene photographs.

"What if I told you that I am now frightened of my own shadow? That I am constantly looking over my shoulder? That I am exhausted, but frightened to sleep because of the nightmares?" Miss Witheridge wrote.

She said the felt compelled to dispel people's view of Thailand as "the most beautiful place in the world".

Miss Witheridge added that judges and court officials had made a series of hurtful comments to her family throughout the trial process.

These included "Why are you so bothered? Just go home and make another one" in reference to their loss.

She also said the family were told: "Why are you making such a fuss, she will be back in 30 days as something else, she may have better luck next time".

She went on to express concerns about other deaths on the island, writing: "What if I told you that since we lost Hannah there have been many more suspicious deaths on Koh Tao.

"You probably haven't heard of them all, as not all were British nationals. The deaths, where possible, are covered up as suicides and accidents.

"This would have happened with Hannah, if it had not been for the hideous brutality of her passing."

Press Association

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