Britain summons Thai envoy over tourist murder probe

13th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

The British government on Monday summoned Thailand's top diplomatic representative in London to lay out its "real concern" about the investigation into the murder of two British tourists on a holiday island, officials said.

Thai police last week charged two migrant workers from Myanmar with the murder of David Miller, 24, and the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, after the tourists' battered bodies were found on Koh Tao on September 15.

Junior foreign minister Hugo Swire summoned Thai charge d'affaires Nadhavathna Krishnamra and "stressed that there was a real concern in the UK about how the investigation has been handled by the Thai authorities," the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Swire "said that it was crucial for the investigation to be conducted in a fair and transparent way," it said.

He also noted "his concern about the way that the police had engaged with the media on the case, and reiterated that the UK police stood ready to assist with the investigation and subsequent legal process", it said.

Swire emphasised the need for the British government and the victims' families to receive regular updates on the investigation's progress.

Thai police said on Friday that the two suspects had confessed to the crime and their DNA matched with samples taken from Witheridge's body.

The breakthrough followed intense scrutiny of Thai authorities, which had been accused -- in criticism led by the British media -- of bungling the investigation in the days after the crime.

There have been reports that the suspects were tortured into confessing -- an allegation Thailand has strongly denied.

The grisly murders delivered a fresh blow to Thailand's image as a tourist haven after months of political protests that ended in May's army coup.

© 2014 AFP

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