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Envoy meets Thai police over murders

David Miller and Hannah Witheridge

Britain's top envoy in Thailand has met police and Burmese officials amid concerns about the handling of the investigation into the murders of two British backpackers.

Court proceedings have reportedly started against two Burmese men accused of killing David Miller, 24, and 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge from Great Yarmouth on the island of Koh Tao.

According to the Bangkok Post three potential witnesses from Burma will now testify at the court.

Mark Kent, the British ambassador to Thailand, said on Twitter he had taken part in a meeting with Thai police and the Burmese ambassador and on the murders.

It comes after a Thai diplomat was summoned to the Foreign Office amid concerns about the police investigation.

Foreign Minister Hugo Swire told Thai charge d'affaires Nadhavathna Krishnamra there was "a real concern" in the UK over the way in which the deaths of Miss Witheridge and Mr Miller have been dealt with.

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Police deny Thailand murder suspects withdrew confessions

Thai Police have denied claims the two men suspected of murdering Brits Hannah Witheridge and David Miller have withdrawn their confessions, saying they have "concrete" evidence linking them to the deaths.

Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were discovered on a beach on Koh Tao last month.

The men, who have been named in reports as bar workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, are accused of brutally killing Witheridge, 23, and Miller, 24, on the island of Koh Tao in September.

The two suspects, both 21, were charged with three offences - conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to rape and robbery - after local police said the men confessed to the killings.

But reports emerged on Thursday that Aung Myo Thant, a Burmese embassy official, had formally retracted their confessions amid allegations the pair were tortured.

A spokesman for the Royal Thai Police today strongly denied the accusations of torture as he insisted the confessions had not been withdrawn.


Men accused of killing Hannah Witheridge 'retract' their confessions

The two men (wearing helmets) were paraded by police last week. Credit: Reuters

The men accused of killing two British tourists in Thailand have reportedly retracted their confessions.

The bodies of Hannah Witheridge from Hemsby near Great Yarmouth and David Miller from Jersey were found on the island of Koh Tao last month.

Hannah Witheridge.

Two Burmese migrant workers charged with their murders have now apparently said they were forced to confess by Thai police.

Aung Myo Thant, a Burmese Embassy official, has been quoted in the Thai and Burmese press as saying that the men were pressured into admitting the killings.

"They said they didn't do it, that the Thai police beat them until they confessed to something they didn't do.

Their bodies had all sorts of bruises."

– Aung Myo Thant, lawyer

Miss Witheridge's funeral will be held in Hemsby tomorrow morning.

Charity fear men accused of killing Hannah Witheridge may have been tortured by Thai police

The two men were paraded by police last week. Credit: Reuters.

A human rights charity has called for an investigation into allegations of torture by police of two men suspected of killing British tourists in Thailand.

The two Burmese workers, whose names were given only as Saw and Win, have been charged with the murder and rape of Hannah Witheridge from Hemsby near Great Yarmouth, and killing David Miller, from Jersey, on the island of Koh Tao on September 15.

Last week they were paraded by police at press conference, and were made to re-enact how they allegedly killed the backpackers.

Hannah Witheridge.

Now, Amnesty International said a lawyer, from the Burmese embassy legal team who is acting for the accused, had been told by one of the men that officers had beaten him and "threatened him with electrocution".

The human rights charity has called for an investigation.

"The Thai authorities must initiate an independent, effective and transparent investigation into mounting allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by police.

The pressure to be seen to be solving an appalling crime that has garnered considerable attention should not result in the violation of rights, including to a fair trial."


Thai police deny the allegations.


Thai murders: Police say DNA from two Burmese suspects matches Hannah Witheridge

Hannah Witheridge.

DNA samples taken from the body of a woman from Norfolk who was murdered in Thailand matches that of two suspects already in custody, according to the country's police chief.

Yesterday, two Burmese men confessed to killing Hannah Witheridge from Hemsby near Great Yarmouth and fellow tourist David Miller on the island of Koh Tao last month.

They'd both suffered severe head injuries.

Police are now waiting for a local court to issue a warrant so that the men can be formally charged.

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