The two Burmese men accused of the murder of University of Leeds graduate David Miller and fellow backpacker Hannah Witheridge have today gone on trial in Thailand.
Burmese nationals Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, both 22, were charged with the murder of the British tourists after the bodies of the two Brits were found on the southern Thai island of Koh Tao in September of last year, however, both deny any involvement.
As reported by The Gryphon at the time, despite the fact that both men had made full confessions after their DNA matched samples taken from Miss Witheridge’s body days after their initial arrest, the pair later withdrew their confessions amid claims they had been tortured by Thai police.
In October a petition signed by more than 100,000 people was handed in at 10 Downing Street demanding a new, independent investigation into the deaths amid growing concerns that the two suspects are being used as ‘scapegoats’ in order to protect Thailand’s tourism industry.
Defence lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat said: “We hope the truth will be revealed. We hope the mechanism of justice in Thailand… will have the same standards of international countries.”
Members of both victims’ families have traveled to Thailand to attend the trial and have spoken of the pain the deaths had caused.
Speaking before the trial, David Miller’s family said: “The act which ended David’s life devastated our family and his friends. Just hours before he died, David was talking to us with his usual enthusiasm, describing the beauty of Koh Tao and the friendliness of the Thai people.
“Over the coming weeks we hope to gain a better understanding as to how such a wonderful young man lost his life in such idyllic surroundings in such a horrible way.
“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.”
Verdicts in the case are not expected until October.