Family of David Miller, a Briton backpacker killed along with Hannah Witheridge in 2014 on a resort island of Kho Tao, has said the Appeals Court made a correct decision in upholding the death penalty on two Myanmar migrants.
The Court of Appeal on Monday upheld the death penalty against Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, Myanmar migrant workers in one of the most shocking crimes in Thailand’s history.
The gruesome crime made headlines in Thailand and across the world.
Police arrested defendant Zaw Lin on Koh Tao – a part of Surat Thani province – about two weeks after the crime took place. Wai Phyo (Win Zaw Tun), the second defendant, was later arrested at a pier in Surat Thani town.
In a statement, the Miller family said, “We remain confident that this is the correct decision.” However the family hoped the Thai authorities will show leniency in relation to the death sentence.
Defence lawyers yesterday that they would bring the case to the Supreme Court.
“We have always said that we did not want innocent men sentenced nor guilty parties acquitted on a technicality. In the end the evidence is overwhelming and we feel that justice has been done.”
“During autopsy, semen in Hannah’s body had been found and this was analysed in the accredited Institute of Forensic Medicine and Pathology in Bangkok well before the two guilty men were detained.”
This find triggered an extensive DNA testing of all workers and inhabitants around the crime scene, eventually leading the police to the link they sought and to Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo,” the family said.
Their DNA was retested in court and found to match the results from samples taken at the autopsy. “The defence team was then given the opportunity to retest the autopsy samples and they declined, despite… our requests to do so. That moment was telling,” the statement said.
“Both defendants admitted in court to being at the crime scene that night, just feet from where the murder weapon was kept (and replaced) and metres from where the murders took place. “The claim they saw and heard nothing in the moonlight. Our own visits to the beach on Koh Tao under a similar moon make this claim impossible for us to believe.”
“In court, we also heard from them that they had told their first lawyers, appointed by the Solicitors Council of Thailand, and anyone else that asked, that they were guilty. This included fellow prisoners, doctors, interpreters and the police.
“Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo will now have time in jail to reflect on their horrific crimes.”