DNA of Myanmar Men Charged Murders does not Match Weapon

Published: 11th September 2015 07:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th September 2015 07:29 PM   |  A+A-

By AFP

BANGKOK: The DNA of two Myanmar men accused of killing a pair of British tourists on a Thai island does not match that found on the suspected murder weapon, a forensics expert witness said today.

The testimony casts fresh doubt on the controversial trial of migrant workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun who are accused of the murder of 24-year-old David Miller and the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, on southern Koh Tao island in September 2014.

Both men have pleaded not guilty and face the death penalty if convicted over a case which has tarnished Thailand's reputation as a tourist paradise and seen the police accused of bungling the investigation.

The defence have pressed to retest crucial forensic evidence from the crime scene with a handful of items re-examined by Thailand's Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS) including a garden hoe, the suspected murder weapon.

"The DNA on the weapon did not match with the two suspects," Porntip Rojanasunan, director-general of the CIFS, told AFP after testifying at Koh Samui Provincial Court today.

We found the DNA of two "unidentified people" on the hoe, she added.

The battered bodies of Miller and Witheridge were found on the sleepy diving island of Koh Tao on September 15.

Police say Miller had been struck by a single blow and left to drown in shallow surf while Witheridge had been raped and then beaten to death with a garden hoe.

Prosecutors have previously argued that DNA evidence implicates the two Myanmar migrants but the defence has said an under-pressure police force coerced confessions, later retracted, from the pair.

Nakhon Chomphuchat, the lead lawyer for the migrants, said today's testimony showed the two men "were not involved with the case as police have accused".

Porntip also told the court that there was no DNA found on other items tested by the forensics institute including a shoe and some plastic bags.

In July a witness at the trial had testified to removing and washing down the garden hoe after coming across it shortly after the tourists' bodies were found on the island.

The trial is still under way and a verdict is expected in October.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp