Bodies of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller found near blood covered rocks, court hears

Hannah Witheridge, picture released by her family.

Hannah Witheridge, picture released by her family. - Credit: Archant

The bodies of University of Essex student Hannah Witheridge and fellow Briton David Miller were found partially naked near blood covered rocks, a court in Thailand has heard.

Ms Witheridge, 23, from Great Yarmouth and 24-year-old Mr Miller, from Jersey, were killed on the island of Koh Tao last September.

Their families have travelled to the nearby island of Koh Samui where Burmese migrants Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, also known as Win Zaw Htun, stand charged with murder and rape.

The first policeman on the scene described getting a call at 6.30am that morning informing him that two bodies had been found on the beach.

“I found a man’s body lying on the beach with seawater lapping his body,” said Lieutenant Jakrapan Kaewkao, a witness for the prosecution.

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“Then I found the woman’s body behind the rocks.”

He added that the bodies, both of which were mostly unclothed, were several yards apart and said Ms Witheridge’s bore signs of physical assault.

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He also said the rocks were spotted with blood.

A doctor who examined the bodies of the two Britons is expected to be called later.

The investigation into the deaths has been marred by confusion and allegations of police incompetence.

The defendants are said to have confessed under pressure from local police shortly after the killings but have since retracted those statements.

Earlier, as he walked into the courtroom defence lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat said he hoped the trial would be a just one.

“We hope the truth will be revealed,” he said.

“We hope the mechanism of justice in Thailand... will have the same standards of international countries.”

While journalists were allowed into the small courtroom initially they were moved out to make room for others attending the trial including relatives and diplomats.

In statements issued today before the trial began members of both victims’ families spoke of the pain the deaths had caused.

Mr Miller’s family said hours before his death he was talking to them with his usual enthusiasm, describing the beauty of Koh Tao and the friendliness of the Thai people.

They added: “This pain will remain a part of us for the rest of our lives. We have borne our thoughts in silence as we have not wanted to influence any court proceedings, but simply want to see justice done fairly and openly.”

Ms Witheridge’s family said they were “united in grief” with Mr Miller’s loved ones and added: “We of course want to see those responsible for the brutal murder of our precious girl brought to justice.”

Verdicts in the case are not expected until October.

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