Key forensic evidence "may have been destroyed" in the trial of the Burmese workers accused of killing two British backpackers in Thailand.
On the second day of the three-month trial in a Thai court, Police Lieutenant Colonel Somsak Nurod presented a list of exhibits related to the case, including a garden hoe – the alleged murder weapon, but failed to present crucial DNA evidence, according to the BBC.
The DNA samples, taken from sperm and a cigarette at the scene, may have been used up in testing or lost, it has been reported.
Lt Col Somsak told BBC that the samples had either been lost - or that only sufficient for 1 test. Defence wanted to verify independently.— Jonah Fisher (@JonahFisherBBC) July 9, 2015
Burmese migrants Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, both 22, are on trial for the murders of 24-year-old David Miller, from Jersey, and 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge, from Norfolk.
Having previously confessed to police, the accused have denied the charges.
The first police officer to reach the scene has given evidence, describing how the bodies, mostly unclothed, were found a few metres apart and showing signs of a brutal attack.
According to human rights groups, Burmese migrant workers have been wrongly accused of crimes by Thai police in the past.
Lead defence lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat said that police will confirm later today what evidence they have, and that the defence team had "expected" that the DNA evidence could be missing or unusable.
In pictures: Thailand beach murders
In pictures: Thailand beach murders
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Two Myanmar migrant workers suspected of killing two British tourists participate in a crime re-enactment
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The two suspects (wearing hard hats) during a re-enactment of the alleged crime
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Thai policemen conduct DNA tests on staff from two beachside bars as part of the investigation on the murder of two British tourists on the southern resort island of Koh Tao
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Police chiefs look at a beach near the spot where bodies of two killed British tourists were found on the island of Koh Tao
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Police in Koh Tao said they were liaising with officers in Bangkok to try and detain the second man
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People of Koh Tao offer their prayers
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A Thai villager lays flowers during a memorial service for two murdered British tourists at the crime scene on a beach of Koh Tao resort island
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A police searches for clues near the spot where bodies of two killed British tourists were found, on the island of Koh Tao
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Thai workers carry the bodies of two British tourists on Koh Tao island in the Surat Thani province of southern Thailand
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Hannah Witheridge, 23 was killed on the small island of Koh Tao on 15 Septembe
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David Miller, 24, was killed on the small island of Koh Tao on 15 September
The news that key DNA evidence may have been lost draws further criticism on the investigation which has already suffered allegations of police misconduct against witnesses and improperly collecting evidence. The allegations have been denied by Thai police.
Thai authorities have been under pressure to resolve the case quickly as the death of tourists threatens the country’s vital tourism industry.
Met police were sent to Thailand last year to review the case and report back to UK authorities and the families of the victims.
The Miller family said in a statement this week: "The act which ended David’s life devastated our family and his friends."
"Over the coming weeks we hope to gain a better understanding as to how such a wonderful young man lost his life in such idyllic surroundings in such a horrible way," a family spokesperson said.Reuse content