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Man in court over Brit tourist shooting in Thailand

A man accused of shooting dead a British holidaymaker on New Year's Eve in Thailand has appeared in court today.

Ekkapan Kaewkla, 26, is suspected of killing Stephen Ashton at a beach party at Koh Phangan.

Ekkapan Kaewkla after his arrest by Thai police

Mr Ashton, 22, a former city trader from Purley, south London, was enjoying New Year celebrations when he was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight between rival gangs.

Stephen Ashton Credit: Facebook

His relatives are due to meet the British ambassador to Thailand to make arrangements for his repatriation.

Thai gunman wants to say 'sorry' to the Ashton Family

The 26-year old man accused of killing British tourist Stephen Ashton is due to appear at a court on the Isle of Koh Samui, the neighbouring island to where the shooting took place.

ITV News managed to speak to him in the holding cells, briefly, and he said that he wants to say sorry to the Ashton Family. He said: "I know I have done wrong" and claimed that his intended victim hid behind tourists when he pointed his gun at rival gang members.

ITV News' China Correspondent Angus Walker reports from outside the court.


Relatives of killed British tourist to arrive in Thailand

The family of the British tourist Stephen Ashton, who was shot dead by a stray bullet on a beach in Thailand, have said they are "devastated" by his death.

His relatives are due to meet the British ambassador to Thailand tomorrow to make arrangements for his repatriation.

Meanwhile, police in Thailand say they have arrested a man who has confessed to the 22-year-old's murder.

ITV News' correspondent Angus Walker reports from Bangkok:

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."

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 British tourist shot dead 'devastated' by death

The Foreign Office issued a statement on behalf of the family of Stephen Ashton, who was killed in Thailand on New Year’s 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.

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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