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'DNA evidence could be re-tested' says expert in Thailand murder trial

Hannah Witheridge and David Miller Credit: ITV News Anglia

The trial of two men accused of the murder of two British backpackers in Thailand has heard that DNA evidence can be re-tested.

The bodies of Hannah Witheridge who was 23 and from Hemsby in Norfolk and David Miller from Jersey were found in September last year.

The defence team for the Burmese Migrants Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, who are on trial for the murders say the only thing linking them to the crime is the DNA evidence.

Thai police claimed that the samples had been exhausted and couldn't be re-tested.

But a forensic expert said in court that duplicates of some of the evidence had been made - meaning there is enough to re-test.

The two men deny the charges.

Confusion over crucial evidence in British backpackers murder trial

The trial of two men accused of murdering Norfolk student Hannah Witheridge has resumed in Thailand, despite confusion over evidence crucial to the defence case.

23-year-old Hannah from Hemsby near Great Yarmouth was killed on the island of Koh Tao in September last year. Fellow backpacker David Miller from Jersey also died.

Two migrant workers from Burma have denied murdering them. Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun initially pleaded guilty when arrested but later claimed they'd been tortured by the police to confess.

Their defence team want DNA evidence found at the murder scene to be independently verified, but it's emerged that samples taken at the time could well have been lost.

The trial's expected to last three months, with verdicts to be announced in October. If found guilty, the defendants face the death penalty.

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Hannah Witheridge murder trial starts in Thailand

The trial has begun in Thailand of the two men accused of murdering Norfolk student Hannah Witheridge last year.

Hannah was on a backpacking holiday when she was killed, along with fellow Briton David Miller.

Defence lawyers say the men were forced into making confessions, and claim there are discrepancies in the DNA evidence that was found.

Hannah Witheridge's family in Thailand for murder trial

Hannah Witheridge Credit: Family photo

The family of Hannah Witheridge from Hemsby near Great Yarmouth, who was killed in Thailand last summer, have travelled to the country for the start of the murder trial.

23-year-old Hannah was found dead alongside 24-year-old David Miller on the island of Koh Tao in September. Two Burmese men confessed to the murders and then retracted their statements.

"We have travelled to Koh Samui for the start of the trial into the horrific murders of our beautiful Hannah, and David Miller. We stand united in our grief with David's family and together wish to have privacy to follow the trial."

"Speculation, rumour and theory have been incredibly hurtful to our family and Hannah's friends, making an already unthinkable time harder to bear. Please allow the police and the court to do their jobs during the coming weeks and months. We of course want to see those responsible for the brutal murder of our precious girl brought to justice"

– Family statement

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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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