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Closing submissions due in Thai backpackers murder trial

Hannah Witheridge. Credit: Norfolk Police.

Lawyers in the trial of two men accused of murdering a Norfolk backpacker in Thailand will today make their closing submissions.

Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Gorleston, was killed alongside fellow traveller 24-year-old David Miller, from Jersey, on the island of Koh Tao in September last year.

Burmese migrants Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo both deny murder. They claim they were tortured and threatened by Thai authorities to make them confess to the killings.

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Thailand accused told they would 'disappear' if they didn't confess

23-year-old Hannah Witheridge Credit: Norfolk police

Two Burmese migrants accused of murdering two British backpackers in Thailand claim they were told they would "disappear" if they did not confess to the killings.

23-year old Hannah Witheridge from Hembsy near Great Yarmouth, and David Miller, 24, from Jersey, were found dead on the island of Koh Tao in September last year.

Both defendants who are aged 22 initially confessed to the killings but later retracted their statements, telling the court they had been tortured. But police there deny the claims of torture.

The Burmese workers accused of the murders Credit: ITV News Anglia

A British advisor to the defence team, Andy Hall has given evidence about the alleged torture in the trial. Mr Hall said. "They were told that if they did not confess they would simply disappear - they would be set on fire or their limbs would be cut off and sunk at sea so nobody would ever find them."

Prosecutors say the DNA evidence links the two men to the killings but the trial heard that a garden hoe alleged to have been used in the killings carried the DNA of two men - but there was no trace of either defendant.

The court is due to hear closing statements from the defence and prosecution on October 26 before delivering its verdict on Christmas Eve.

Torture claim by men accused of Thai murders

Hannah Witheridge Credit: Norfolk Police

The two Burmese men accused of killing Norfolk student Hannah Witheridge in Thailand claim they were tortured and threatened to make them confess to the crime.

The pair are accused of killing 23-year-old Hannah from Hemsby, near Great Yarmouth, and David Miller, from Jersey, but both insist they didn't do it, and that they were tortured to say they did. The trial in Koh Samui is drawing to a close, but the verdict could take another three months.

Verdict could be delayed in Thailand murder trial

David Miller and Hannah Witheridge.

Lawyers of two men accused of murdering a Norfolk backpacker have been granted more time to organise their defence - potentially delaying a verdict.

The body of Hannah Witheridge, from Hemsby, near Great Yarmouth, was found alongside that of fellow traveller David Miller on the island of Koh Tao in Thailand last year.

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 22, deny the murders.

Their lawyers appealed for more time to show the pair were being used as scapegoats by the Thai authorities.

The solicitors have previously complained of a patchy police investigation and selective use of surveillance video.

The defendants have accused police of torturing them to force them to admit killing Miss Witheridge and Mr Miller. They later retracted their confessions.

"A journey that has no end" Family of Hannah Witheridge describe their pain

David Miller and Hannah Witheridge

The family of Hannah Witheridge have released a statement as the trial draws to a close.

Hannah, 23, from Hemsby, in Norfolk, was killed alongside David Miller 24, on the island of Koh Tao last year.

Two Burmese workers accused of the killings deny the charges, claiming they were tortured for their confessions.

The family standing on the steps of the court in Koh Samui Credit: Norfolk Police

"Our family have returned to Koh Samui for the closing days of trial. As a family we are here to represent our beautiful girl.

Our world changed forever on 15th September 2014. Words cannot begin to explain the journey we have endured, a journey that has no end.

We hope that the reporting of the case offers both Hannah and David their dignity and we ask that we are afforded our privacy to digest the case and the evidence being presented.

Please remember, above all, that Hannah and David were both real people, they were loved by their families and all those that were privileged enough to know them. This story bares no happy ending; their lives were ended brutally that night without sense or reason."

– Family of Hannah Witheridge

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British police return from Thailand following murders

British police who travelled to Thailand to review the probe into the murders of Hannah Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, and David Miller are due to return to the UK, having completed their work "as far as possible".

David Miller and Hannah Witheridge Credit: Family photos

Officers from the Metropolitan Police flew out last month to work with the Royal Thai Police after an agreement between David Cameron and military ruler General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

It followed international concern about the way the case has been handled by the Thai authorities.

Mr Miller, 24, from Jersey, and 23-year-old Ms Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, were found dead on a beach on the holiday island of Koh Tao in September.

Two Burmese men, named as 21-year-old bar workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, were charged with the killings and paraded in front of cameras after apparently making confessions, but these were later reportedly withdrawn.

UK police concerns are understood to have been around the verification of DNA samples of the suspects and allegations of their mistreatment.

Scotland Yard said officers will compile a report from their review.

Detectives from the United Kingdom who are currently in Thailand reviewing the investigation into the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller have completed their work, as far as possible,

They will now be returning to the UK to compile their report and to update the families of Hannah and David on their findings.

The police team wish to thank the Thai authorities for facilitating the visit.

– Metropolitan Police

Thai authorities ban some holiday island beach parties following murders

David Miller and Hannah Witheridge.

Thai authorities have banned beach parties on some holiday islands after a Norfolk student and her friend were murdered last month.

23-year-old Hannah Witheridge, from Hemsby near Great Yarmouth, was killed alongside David Miller from Jersey, on the island of Koh Tao.

Two Burmese migrant workers have been charged with the murders. Last week lawyers for the suspects confirmed they had withdrawn their confessions amid allegations they had been tortured by police.

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