Mid Wales

Kirsty Jones Thailand killer will be caught say police

Kirsty Jones
Image caption Kirsty Jones was on an around the world trip when she was murdered

A leading police officer insists the case of a murdered backpacker 11 years ago can still be brought to a "successful conclusion".

Kirsty Jones, 23, from Tredomen, near Brecon, Powys, was raped and strangled at a guesthouse in Thailand in 2000.

Speaking on the anniversary of her death, Ch Supt Steve Hughson of Dyfed-Powys Police said the force continued to press the Thai police for action.

The family's MP Roger Williams has criticised the handling of the case.

Farmer's daughter Ms Jones, a Liverpool University graduate, was found dead in a room at the Aree guest house in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, 435 miles (700km) north of the country's capital Bangkok.

She was three months into a two-year around-the-world trip.

Despite a number of arrests, no charges have ever been brought over her death, and the lengthy slow-paced investigation has frustrated the Jones family.

The family's concerns led to Dyfed-Powys Police's involvement in 2001, and forensic officers later secured the killer's DNA.

Ms Jones's mother, Sue, has continued to battle for justice for her daughter, and has met Foreign Office and Thai officials.

On the 10th anniversary last year, Mrs Jones said she would never give up the fight to see the murderer caught.

"The main thing that needs to be done is to DNA the alleged suspect in the case," she told BBC Wales.

"If that was done we could either say that he is the guy who murdered Kirsty or eliminate him from the investigation."

She added that "not a day goes by" when Kirsty is not in the family's thoughts.

Ch Supt Hughson has been involved in this case for many years, along with his force colleague Det Ch Supt Steve Wilkins.

"We feel that the answers to this case rest in Thailand, in particular Chang Mai," he said.

"In October last year we responded to a letter of request from the Thai attorney general which meant the re-interviewing of a number of witnesses who are now residents in the UK.

"It involved cross-border collaboration with the Scottish Crown Office and other police forces and agencies. We also traced a number of witnesses living in Thailand and someone who was living in a commune in India."

He said a report was returned to the Thai authorities which was still being examined.

Ch Supt Hughson added that recent media reports naming a possible suspect by an Australian national was forwarded to the Thai authorities in March.

He said Thai officers were asked to interview the source of the allegation and thoroughly investigate the details.

"We, with the support of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Interpol, have continued to press for action and regular updates on the investigation," he added.

"We are still firmly of the view that this is a case which can be brought to a successful conclusion and we will continue to support the family in their quest for justice and the truth."

Last month, Brecon and Radnorshire MP Roger Williams claimed the Thai police had not acted quickly on possible new evidence after a YouTube video named a man allegedly seen near the guesthouse.

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