Backpacker murder suspect is questioned

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The Independent Online

Police investigating the rape and murder of the British backpacker Kirsty Jones in Thailand were continuing to question a man with dual British and Australian nationality yesterday evening.

Police investigating the rape and murder of the British backpacker Kirsty Jones in Thailand were continuing to question a man with dual British and Australian nationality yesterday evening.

Nathan Foley, who was born in Sydney, was seen with 23-year-old Ms Jones shortly before her death and stayed at the guesthouse room next door to where her body was discovered partly naked and with a T-shirt tied around her neck. He contacted the police after they released his details and said they wanted to question him.

Police investigator Prasit Thamdee said Mr Foley, 26, would be "accompanied" by officers if he was released after further questioning. He would not be allowed to leave the country while investigations continued.

Detectives have also questioned and taken blood and hair samples from nine other tourists. Strands of hair found at the murder scene indicate that the killer was a dark-haired caucasian. Mr Thamdee said all the samples have been voluntarily supplied and the nine other tourists had been released after being interviewed. However, they too have been asked not to leave the country while the inquiry continues.

Mr Thamdee added that police wanted to interview another man known to Ms Jones who is believed to be travelling in the hill country around Chiang Mai where the murder took place.

Ms Jones, of Brecon, Powys, in Wales, was in Thailand after travelling through South-East Asia and Australia after graduating from Liverpool University. Her parents arrived home at their 300-acre farm yesterday, cutting short a holiday in Spain after learning of their daughter's death.

Her father, Glyn Jones, said: "She had a great sense of adventure. We had told her of our worries about her backpacking alone and were concerned about her. But she loved it - seeing the world and mixing with different sorts of people.

"She was determined to have one last look at the world before settling down with a career. We got a promise from her that this would be her last trip. She kept in touch with us regularly with e-mails so that we knew where she was. She was determined to go back this one last time. But it cost her her life.

Ms Jones's mother, Sue, 47, broke down in tears as her husband spoke. She said later: "She told us that she was going on an elephant trek in northern Thailand in a few days' time. She had everything in the world to look forward to."

Ms Jones's brother, Gareth, first heard about the murder on the radio. Whoever did it, he said, "I hope they will lock him up for a long time".

"He is a bastard who did this to my wonderful sister. I must admit I feel like going out there to kill him myself. I'm just pretending she is still on holiday - it is my way of coping. I'm used to her being away and we only ever used to see her once every four months when she was in uni[versity]."

Several other guests at the Aree guesthouse where the killing took place heard sounds of a struggle and shouting the night before Ms Jones's body was found on Thursday afternoon. But they did nothing because, they say, they assumed that it was a "lovers' tiff".

One guest, Stephen Trigg, said: "I heard a girl shouting 'Get out, get out, get out, leave me alone, leave me alone'. I came downstairs to see what was happening with the owner of the hotel. As a traveller this sort of thing is heard many times - boyfriend, girlfriend having an argument - so we thought nothing of it."

Surin Janpamet, the manager of the guesthouse, said "I was having a shower at around 1am when my girlfriend came to tell me she was worried by the noise. I went to listen.

"There were several other guests around at the time and one said not to worry, it was just a lovers' tiff, so we decided not to interfere. Then it all went quiet and we assumed the row was over."

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