Backpackers murdered by Thai police officer in row at restaurant

Two British backpackers were shot dead by an off-duty Thai policeman near the site made famous by the film The Bridge on the River Kwai.

In the early hours of yesterday, the couple - Vanessa Arscott, 23, and Adam Lloyd, 25 - got into an argument at the S&S restaurant, a small riverside eating place near Kanchanaburi, 80 miles north-west of Bangkok, Thai police said.

The couple were the only foreigners in the patio beer garden when Mr Lloyd grew angry with people staring at his girlfriend, according to a police source. Police Major Chavalit Piakaew said: "The male tourist was apparently upset by the way other people in the shop looked at his girlfriend and his jealousy got out of control."

There were conflicting reports about how the incident unfolded but one police source said the restaurant owner, who is also a 39-year-old Thai police sergeant, got involved in an argument with the couple and approached them in his car after they left. He shot Mr Lloyd three times and then ran over Ms Arscott, dragging her body under his car for 20 yards. Seconds later he shot her twice at close range.

Major Piakaew said Mr Lloyd and Ms Arscott died on their way to the Phahol Polpayuhasena hospital and the gunman escaped.

Police Colonel Vej Somboon said an arrest warrant was issued for Sergeant Somchai Wisetsingha, a joint owner of the restaurant, whose private car was found with bloodstains and who has been missing since the shootings. "The witnesses and evidence show that he is the man who gunned down the British tourists," Col Somboon said.

The British embassy's acting consul, Fiona Borisuth, and other officials arrived at the town, collecting the couple's passports and personal belongings from the Sugar Cane 2 guest house.

Ms Arscott's mother and father, Joyce and Graham, and her sister, Alyssa, were being comforted last night by friends and relatives at the family home in Ashburton, Devon. They said in a statement: "Vanessa was a joy in our family, both beautiful and vivacious, and about to embrace life's big adventure with both hands. She had met her boyfriend Adam, and together they had a strong and lovingly supportive bond and were planning to live their lives as a couple. Our family's heart goes out to Lynne and Brian, Adam's parents."

Ms Arscott's grandmother Eileen Arscott, who lives in nearby Kingsteignton, said the pair had travelled to Thailand on 3 July and they were due to return home this weekend.

Adam Lloyd originally came from Northampton but he and his parents recently moved to run the Buckingham Lodge Hotel in Torquay. He had three brothers. Mrs Lloyd said: "I just can't believe it. They just went off on holiday together as a happy couple and now we hear this dreadful news. He and Vanessa had been travelling together for two months. It was something he always wanted to do. They were due to come back this Saturday."

There have been several murders of foreign tourists in Thailand including that of 23-year-old Kirsty Jones from Brecon, south Wales, who was murdered in a guesthouse in Chiang Mai in August 2000. Last month, a Scottish backpacker Mark Lemetti, 24, was beaten to death in southern Thailand. Violent crime rarely affects visitors to Kanchanaburi, but last year a French tourist was shot by a robber on a motorbike while walking to his guesthouse with friends.

The railway and bridge, immortalised in David Lean's 1957 film The Bridge on the River Kwai, were built by 61,000 Allied PoWs and 250,000 Asian labourers working in the most appalling conditions. The line became known as the Death Railway after about 100,000 Asians and 16,000 Allies lost their lives in its construction.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk