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Man appears in Thai court accused of shooting dead Londoner

A man has appeared in court in Thailand accused of shooting dead a tourist from Purley during a New Year's Eve party.

Ekkapan Kaewkla, who is 26, has been charged with killing Stephen Ashton, who died after he was hit by a stray bullet during a fight outside a bar on the island of Koh Phangan.

ITV News correspondent Angus Walker was in court on the neighbouring island of Koh Samui and spoke to the defendant before the trial.

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Report: Suspect 'sorry' over British tourist shooting

A man has allegedly admitted to unintentionally killing a British tourist at a New Year's Eve party on a Thai island, according to the Bangkok Post.

Stephen Ashton, 22, was shot dead on Koh Phangan and earlier 26-year-old Ekkapan Kaewkla was arrested in connection with the shooting.

The Bangkok Post reported that Mr Kaewkla said: “My group was outnumbered so we ran outside the bar. I drew out a gun and fired a shot into the bar aimed at my rivals.

"But it turned out that the tourist was hit. I’m sorry for the incident that occurred and I am ready to be punished for what I have done."

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Police says suspect confessed to killing of Stephen Ashton

by - China Correspondent

Thai police say that the suspect they have in custody has confessed to the killing of Stephen Ashton.

It seems that the British tourist was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The island is famous for its New Year and Full Moon parties but also notorious for drugs, crime and gangs.

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Victim's MP 'determined to ensure that justice is served'

Stephen Ashton's MP Richard Ottaway said he had been in touch with the Foreign Office to check that everything was being done to support the investigation.

The MP, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, has also contacted the family to extend his condolences and offer any help that he can.

He said:

The UK ambassador to Thailand will be visiting the scene of the crime tomorrow.

I have written to Mr Ashton's family to offer my help in any way that I can.

I am determined to ensure that justice is served and that whoever is responsible for this heinous act is held to account.

I understand that under Thai law the authorities have up to 84 days to bring charges and there is a bit of a history of this time being taken in other cases.

It may be some weeks before charges are finally brought.

Family of Stephen Ashton pay tribute

Statement issued by the Foreign & Common wealth Office on behalf of the family of Stephen Ashton following his tragic death in Thailand on New Years Eve:

As a family we are completely devastated by the loss of Stephen from our lives. He has been taken away from us in such cruel and tragic circumstances in which he was an innocent bystander simply enjoying New Year celebrations.

We are comforted in the thought that he was having a fantastic time with friends after such a difficult period following the loss of his much loved dad who passed away from a brain tumour in 2011 and the loss of his granddad a few months earlier.

We were all so proud of him; he was a much loved son, brother, grandson and nephew. He will be truly missed by his family but also by the many friends he made during his life. We cannot comprehend how someone can carry out such a reckless act, giving such little value to human life.

We ask that our privacy be respected to allow us to grieve.

National

Ashton 'always had friends and girls round him'

Thailand shooting victim Stephen Ashton, 22, was a regular at the Rectory pub in Brighton Road, Purley.

Deputy manager Matthew Hitchmough said:

He had been coming in here for quite some time, and was bubbly - he always had friends and girls round him.

I didn't know him particularly well, just to say a few words to, but he was a nice man - I can't say a bad word about him.

It's certainly a shock to hear this has happened, I know that a few of the people who come in go to Thailand for Christmas and new year.

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