Thai police say they will find killer within 10 days

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The Independent Online

Thai police investigating the rape and murder of the backpacker Kirsty Jones said yesterday that they believed her killer was one of eight men they have been keeping under surveillance, and said that he would be arrested within 10 days.

Thai police investigating the rape and murder of the backpacker Kirsty Jones said yesterday that they believed her killer was one of eight men they have been keeping under surveillance, and said that he would be arrested within 10 days.

The suspects - six foreigners and two Thais - are being closely watched to make sure they do not leave Chiang Mai, Thailand's northern capital, police said.

Senior officers believe the 23-year-old, who was a few months into a round-the-world trip, may have known her killer.

Police Colonel Prasit Thamdi said the first batch of forensic tests on the eight suspects was due back from the laboratory today. These were blood-group tests, which were being compared with the killer's blood group from samples of his hair believed to have been found on Ms Jones's body. If the blood group test results failed to identify the killer, DNA testing would begin, which would take up to 10 days, said Col Thamdi.

All eight suspects have denied murder. The colonel, through an interpreter, added: "But a few are suspicious because they have been telling fibs. It is definitely one of the eight."

The body of Ms Jones, of Tredomen, near Brecon, Wales, was found in her room at the city's £1-a night Aree hostel last Thursday. She was half-naked and lying face down on the bed, with her sarong wrapped around her neck.

It is understood that herbody will be flown back to Britain today or tomorrow.

Police said it was possible Ms Jones knew her killer, initially consenting for him to be in her room with her, then objecting at some point. "When she screamed and wanted him to stop she could not stop him," said Col Thamdi.

Since Ms Jones's body was found, all the men who were in the hostel have given blood, hair and other samples for tests, although there has been frustration at the delay in getting the results back.

The testing laboratory, in the city's Maharaj university hospital, was padlocked shut yesterday, a national holiday in honour of the Queen of Thailand's birthday last Saturday.

Police are continuing to question the owner of the hostel, the Londoner Andrew Gill, 32. He was arrested on Saturday because his visa was two years out of date. He has insisted he is innocent of murder.

An Australian guest, Stuart Crichton, 28, is also being questioned about the death after he was arrested for allegedly having heroin and cannabis.

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