Hannah Witheridge and David Miller killings: Thailand backpacker double murder trial begins

Brits Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were killed in Thailand

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The Independent Online

The trial of two men charged with the murder of two British tourists in Thailand has begun, it has been reported.

Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, both 21, deny killing 24-year-old David Miller, from Jersey, and 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Post-mortem examinations revealed that backpackers Ms Witheridge, who had been raped, died from head wounds, and Mr Miller was killed by severe blows to the head and drowning.

Their bodies were found on 15 September on a Koh Tao beach.

The trial of the two migrant workers from Burma had been scheduled to begin in February, but it has been brought forward unexpectedly, the BBC reported.

At a hearing earlier this month Nakorn Chompoochart, the lawyer for the accused pair, said they had pleaded not guilty to several charges relating to the deaths.

In October, the two men retracted their confessions, which Thai police said were made shortly after their arrests.

Burmese embassy official Aung Myo Thant was quoted by the Bangkok Post, citing the Myanmar's 7Day Daily newspaper, as saying the men were tortured into confessing.

The claim was denied by the deputy police chief spokesman, who said the men underwent medical checks before and after the inquiry to prove they were not tortured into admitting a crime.

The suspects could face the death penalty if they are convicted of the murders.

Additional reporting by PA