Thai killers who murdered British backpackers to get death penalty after appeal fails

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Myanmar nationals Wai Phyo, centre left, and Zaw Lin, centre right, have lost their appeal against their death sentence (AP)

Two migrants sentenced to death for murdering two British backpackers in 2014 have lost their appeal to have their conviction quashed.

Burmese pair Wai Phyo and Zaw Lin had denied killing David Miller and raping and killing Hannah Witheridge on the resort island of Koh Tao.

Their battered bodies were found on a beach on the morning of September 15, 2014.

The battered bodies of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found on a beach on Koh Tao in September 2014 (PA)

Lawyers for the two men had claimed evidence used in the case against them was mishandled and they made confessions under duress that they later retracted, raising questions about police competence and the judicial system in Thailand.

The trial also saw a well-known Thai forensics expert testify that the DNA evidence which formed a major element of the prosecution's case did not link the defendants to the scene.

The expert also alleged that police had failed to properly control the crime scene and mishandled the DNA evidence.

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But a court rejected the defence arguments and in December 2015 convicted both defendants of murder and sentenced them to death.

Human Rights Watch at the time called the verdict "profoundly disturbing", citing the defendants' accusations of police torture that were never investigated and questionable DNA evidence linking them to the crime.

But Thailand's Supreme Court has now upheld their convictions.

Wai Phyo (pictured) and Zaw Lin had denied murder of the two British backpackers (P)
Wai Phyo, right, is escorted by police officers at the Supreme Court in Bangkok, Thailand (AP)

Miss Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk, and Mr Miller, 24, from Jersey, had arrived in Thailand separately and met at the hotel where they were both staying.

Their killers, who were both 22 at the time, were employed as service workers on the island, which is famous for is diving locations.

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