UK

British tourist murders: Petition calls for independent investigation

Hannah Witheridge and David Miller Image copyright Family photos
Image caption The police investigation into the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller has been widely criticised

A petition calling for an independent investigation into the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller is to be handed in at No 10 later.

More than 95,000 people have signed the online petition urging the UK government to hold its own, independent investigation into the Thai case.

The Thai police investigation has been widely criticised, including by the UK.

The bodies of the British tourists were found on a beach in Koh Tao last month. Two Burmese men are under arrest.

The petition is due to be handed into Downing Street later by Burmese activists who also plan to hold a demonstration in Whitehall.

'Scapegoats'

Post-mortem examinations found Mr Miller, 24, from Jersey, died from drowning and a blow to the head, while Miss Witheridge, 23, from Hemsby in Norfolk, died from head wounds.

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both migrant workers from Myanmar, also known as Burma, are suspects in the murders.

They are charged with conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to rape and robbery, and could face the death penalty if found guilty.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Zaw Lin (left) and Win Zaw Htun are seen here leaving Koh Samui provincial court

Police have said DNA found on Ms Witheridge matched samples taken from the men.

But concerns about the murder investigation include the fact the crime scene was not sealed off after the killings, and an early statement by police that no Thai person could have committed such a crime.

Mr Zaw's mother said this week her son was being made a "scapegoat" by police.

Phyu Shwe Nu told the BBC "the case has been fixed", while both suspects' parents said their sons were innocent.

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Media captionThe parents of the two Burmese men accused of murdering Hannah Witheridge and David Miller say their sons are being made into 'scapegoats', Jonah Fisher reports

BBC political reporter Chris Rayner said the reports have pushed up the number of signatures on the petition.

On Monday, the UK Foreign Office summoned the Thai charge d'affaires to express "concern" how the investigation had been handled.


Koh Tao

  • Small island covering 21 sq km north of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan in Gulf of Thailand
  • Population of about 2,100 and visited by between 400,000 and 500,000 travellers per year
  • Popular with backpackers and divers
  • Quieter and less developed than neighbouring islands which are known for nightlife and beach parties

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