Thai return after drugs ordeal

A British grandmother who claims Thai police viciously beat her and swindled her family out of more than pounds 5,000, after she was seized on trumped-up drugs charges, is set to return to the scene of her holiday nightmare as a guest of the Thailand authorities.

Shirlee Cook, 55, and her husband, Brian, will fly out from Heathrow on Monday, on a 12-day all-expenses-paid trip to Bangkok, Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai - courtesy of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Mrs Cook said: "The invitation came out of the blue. They knew of what had happened to us and were upset about our experience. They were keen to help us to see the nicer side of Thailand.

"It's a marvellous gesture and although my husband and I are a little on edge about going back, I'm sure it will be fantastic."

However, the Thai government has never accepted Mrs Cook's accusations that she was convicted by a kangaroo court and forced to pay thousands of pounds to ensure her release in Patong in November 1995.

A spokeswoman for the Tourism Authority of Thailand said: "The reason for the holiday is to show the Cooks that the experience they had was not the real Thailand."