Three British officers are in Thailand to begin a week's examination of the local police investigation into the murders of British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, the Foreign Office has said.
The trio - a Metropolitan DCI from the homicide and major crime unit, a Metropolitan forensic ops coordinator and an experienced homicide detective from Norfolk Police - arrived in Bangkok yesterday and will travel to the island of Koh Tao in the coming days.
The FCO officers' remit is to meet their Thai counterparts and gain a better understanding of the probe into the backpacker murders following claims the two Burmese bar workers accused of the killings have withdrawn their confessions.
A spokesperson said the British team, whose passage to Thailand was brokered by Prime Minister David Cameron after the country's military ruler dropped his objections, may offer additional assistance if is requested by the Thai authorities.
Two Burmese bar workers accused of killing British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller have withdrawn their confessions, according to their lawyers.
Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 21, admitted the murders on the Thai island of Koh Tao last month.
But Thailand's National Human Rights Commission said it had found evidence the men had been beaten by police.
Campaigners claim Thai police often blame crimes on Burmese migrant workers and that their investigations cannot be trusted.
UK police have since travelled to the island to probe the circumstances of the deaths further.
Concerns have also been raised in Britain that the two men are innocent "scapegoats".
A petition signed by more than 100,000 people has been handed into Downing Street demanding a new independent investigation into the deaths.
British detectives travelling to investigate the backpacker murders in Thailand are expected to focus on independent checks of DNA samples central to the case against two Burmese men accused of the crime and their claims to have been mistreated.
Diplomatic sources said Thailand's military ruler accepted the sending of a delegation to investigate the killing of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller when pressed on the issue by David Cameron during their summit meeting.
Obviously it is for the Thai authorities to lead and carry out that judicial process. But it is important that it is fair and transparent and that both of the families can be reassured that it is the murderers that have been brought to justice.
There are two areas we are particularly concerned about. One is the verification of the DNA samples of the suspects, making sure there is further independent verification. And the second is the investigation into allegations of mistreatment of the suspects. What the PM secured this morning was agreement from the Thai PM that we can send some British police investigators to Kho Tao to work with the Royal Thai Police on this.
UK police have been cleared to travel to Thailand to investigate the murders of British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller after the country's military ruler dropped his objections.
The agreement came in a face-to-face discussion between Prime Minister David Cameron and military ruler Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha at a summit - the Asia Europe Meeting - in Italy amid international concern about the way the case has been handled by the Thai authorities.
Miss Witheridge, 23, from Great Yarmouth, and 24-year-old Mr Miller, from Jersey, were brutally murdered on the holiday island of Koh Tao in September.
Thai authorities have charged two bar workers with the murders of the British backpackers amid allegations that the suspects made confessions under duress.
Foreign minister Hugo Swire has said there is "real concern" in the UK over the Thai investigation into the murders of British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.
Mr Swire summoned the Thai Chargé d’Affaires to the UK, Mr. Nadhavathna Krishnamra, to raise the issue.
Mr Swire stressed that there was a real concern in the UK about how the investigation has been handled by the Thai authorities. He said that it was crucial for the investigation to be conducted in a fair and transparent way.
Mr Swire emphasised how important it was that the UK and Hannah and David’s families received regular updates on the investigation’s progress.
He also noted his concern about the way that the police had engaged with the media on the case and reiterated that the UK police stood ready to assist with the investigation and subsequent legal process.
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.
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.
The parents of a tourist who was killed in Thailand say that the weeks that have passed since her death have been "unimaginably difficult".Read the full story ›
Amnesty International has called for an investigation into claims two men accused of killing British tourists in Thailand have been tortured by police.
The Burmese workers have been charged with the murder and rape of Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Great Yarmouth, and killing 24-year-old David Miller, from Jersey, on the Island of Koh Tao last month.
Last week, they were paraded by police at a news conference which included a re-enactment of the attacks on the beach where the Britons' bodies were found.
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.
Two Burmese workers, who have confessed to the killing of British tourists on the Thai island of Koh Tao, have been paraded by police.
The pair, whose names were given only as Saw and Win, were taken to the island as police carried out a reconstruction of the night David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were brutally killed.
General Somyot Poompanmoung, Thailand's national police chief, said they both face charges of murder, rape and theft.
He added that DNA results, CCTV footage and other evidence supported the men's confessions that they raped and killed Ms Witheridge and murdered Mr Miller.
DNA samples taken from the body of murdered British tourist Hannah Witheridge has matched those of two Burmese men in police custody in Thailand, police said.
Thai National police chief Somyot Poompanmoung also told the AFP news agency that the two suspects had admitting killing Hannah, 23, and her friend David Miller, 24, on Koh Tao island last month.
DNA test results [from the two suspects] confirmed that same DNA was present that we found in body of the [female] victim.
Police are now waiting for a local court to issue a warrant so that the men can be formally charged.