Woman cleared of plotting foreign husband’s murder with ex-boyfriend

Samut Prakan Court has given a Thai woman the benefit of the doubt and acquitted her in a case where she was accused of collaborating with her ex-boyfriend to kill one of her Japanese husbands in 2003.

Phornchanok Chaiyapa lived with Somchai Kaewbangyang before getting married to Katsutoshi Tanaka and then to Yoshinori Shimato. Somchai killed both of her Japanese husbands.

The court on Friday sentenced Somchai to 33 years and four months in jail, commuted from life imprisonment because he confessed to Tanaka’s murder.

Somchai said he killed Tanaka out of jealousy.

Phornchanok, who received more than Bt3 million in compensation from Tanaka’s life insurance, was acquitted on a benefit-of-the-doubt basis.

There was no evidence to implicate Phornchanok in Tanaka’s murder.

Tanaka’s death was initially described as an accident after Phornchanok reported that he fell down a staircase at the couple’s home in Samut Prakan province.

An investigation into Tanaka’s death began only after Shimato’s case made headlines in 2014.

Shimato was killed and dismembered and parts of his remains were found at various locations.

In 2016, the Criminal Court sentenced Somchai to the death penalty for the killing and sentenced Phornchanok to 48 years in jail for helping cover up the crime. Phornchanok initially told police that Shimato went missing.

Keiko Matta, the daughter of Tanaka and another Thai woman, Jintana Nasuho, lodged a complaint with police after learning of Shimato’s death, suspecting foul play.

Jintana attended Samut Prakan Court to hear the verdict.

“Part of me is satisfied with the verdict. But deep down, I still feel sad. I will consult my daughter as to what to do next,” Jintana said.

Keiko is currently overseas.

According to the court, although Phornchanok tried to cover up the crime for Somchai, there is nothing to suggest she took part in the killing. – The Nation

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