Backpacker murder: Accused asks for police protection

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The Independent Online

A British man questioned by Thai police investigating the murder of backpacker Kirsty Jones has asked for police protection, diplomats said today.

A British man questioned by Thai police investigating the murder of backpacker Kirsty Jones has asked for police protection, diplomats said today.

Nathan Foley, 26, was quizzed after contacting Thai police voluntarily in the wake of the death of Miss Jones, 23, who was found raped and strangled in a hostel yesterday.

Thai police said they believed Mr Foley had been a fellow guest at the Aree hostel in Chiang Mai, 422 miles north of Bangkok.

The British Embassy in Bangkok said he was not arrested, but had contacted the police, who said last night they were searching for a Westerner who had been seen with Miss Jones.

The body of Miss Jones, from Brecon, south Wales, was found lying face down in her room, partly-naked with a piece of cloth, thought to be a tee-shirt, wrapped around her neck.

Mr Foley was questioned at the main city police station in Chiang Mai, a hill resort.

He was born in Sydney, had dual British and Australian nationality, and entered Thailand on his British passport, said a British Consulate spokesman. Mr Foley had admitted knowing Miss Jones but denied that they had had a relationship, and was protesting his innocence.

The consulate spokesman said he was free to leave the police station, but had opted to remain there.

"He's actually asked to remain under police protection overnight because he's a bit worried about going back to the guest house and facing the press there.

"He is not in custody but accepted the offer to be looked after by the police. He hasn't been charged. No one has been charged with anything and no one has been arrested either.

"He was never arrested and was answering police questions voluntarily. As for the DNA tests, the results won't be available for at least three or four days. I think it will probably Tuesday at the earliest," he added.

Thai police said 10 foreign nationals who were staying at the hostel today gave samples for DNA testing.

There were also reports police were looking for a second unidentified British man who may have left the town for a trekking trip.

Miss Jones's brother Gareth, 21, said today: "I just cannot believe what has happened. At the moment I'm just pretending she is still away on holiday and will eventually come back.

"She would have been travelling for another 21 months so I wouldn't have seen her for a long time.

"I just want to keep on working to take my mind off what has happened.

"Friends and family have called and visited but I think the best thing to do is not to stay at home and go over and over what has happened.

"I understand that the police have arrested someone. If he is charged I will want to go out there and see the sort of person who could do something like this. I am just glad they already have someone.

"Kirsty was very self-confident and assured. She had always wanted to travel the world. I would never have had the confidence.

"I don't know what my parents will do. My mother will not be able to cope."

Miss Jones's parents, Sue and Glyn, were today under sedation at their farm after flying back from a Spanish holiday.

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