Norfolk

Thai beach murders: Convicted men lose death sentence appeal

Hannah Witheridge and David Miller Image copyright PA
Image caption Hannah Witheridge and David Miller's bodies were found on a beach in Koh Tao in September

Two men convicted of murdering British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller in Thailand have lost their appeal against the death sentence.

The bodies of backpackers Miss Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk, and Mr Miller, 24, from Jersey, were found on a beach on Koh Tao in September 2014.

Burmese bar workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun were found guilty of the killings in December 2015.

An appeal court in Thailand upheld the death sentences handed down to them.

Lawyers for the two men now have 30 days to appeal to the Supreme Court - Thailand's final court of appeal.

The pair's mothers lodged appeals at Koh Samui court last May over concerns about the judgements, in particular the DNA evidence used in the investigation.

"We don't believe the court can say beyond reasonable doubt that Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were responsible for the events which took place in September 2014," said Andy Hall, one of the families' legal advisors.

Image caption Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were convicted of the murders in a Thai court and sentenced to death in December

Miss Witheridge, a University of Essex student from Hemsby, and Mr Miller, a civil and structural engineering graduate, were found on a beach having been bludgeoned to death.

A post-mortem examination showed Miss Witheridge had been raped.

Prosecutors said DNA evidence collected from cigarette butts, a condom and the bodies of the victims linked Lin and Phyo to the deaths.

The men, from Myanmar, retracted their initial confessions to the offences, saying they had been tortured by police.

Their lawyers argued DNA from a garden hoe - allegedly used as the murder weapon - did not match samples taken from the men.

They also claimed evidence had been mishandled by police and the pair's confessions were the result of "systematic abuse" of migrants in the area.

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