BANGKOK – Police investigating the killing of two young British tourists, David Miller and Hannah Witheridge on Koh Tao Island in Thailand have reportedly questioned a British man believed to have shared a room with one of the murdered backpackers.
Christopher Alan Ware , who was allowed to leave the island of Koh Tao on Tuesday after being spoken to by police, returned at the request of officers who wanted to question him further and take a DNA sample, according to police.
Prachum Ruangthong, the head of police on Koh Tao, said there are a number of possible suspects for the killing of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, whose battered bodies were found in the early hours of Monday morning. The bodies of the Britons were flown to Bangkok for forensic tests.
Forensic tests have revealed Mr Miller died as a result of severe blows to the head and drowning, Police Colonel Dr Pornchai Sutheerakune, commander of Institute of Forensic Medicine, said today.
He said water was found in Mr Miller’s lungs and that his body showed signs of being dragged, with injuries to the back of his hands.
An autopsy on Miss Witheridge’s body found that she had also suffered trauma to her head and revealed evidence of sexual activity shortly before she died.
However, Maj Gen Pornchai said the tests did not indicate that she had been raped.
Forensic investigators are awaiting the results of DNA tests on a blonde hair found in the Witheridge’s hand and traces of semen.
‘The results are expected within 24 hours so everything will become clear tomorrow (Thursday),’ Pornchai said.
Mr Ware was reportedly stopped by police – along with a man believed to be his brother, James – at Suvarnabhumi International airport last night before boarding a London-bound flight.
Thailand’s Deputy Police Chief General Somyot Pumpunmuang was quoted by the Nation newspaper in Bangkok that the men were being asked to stay for 48 hours.
‘We have asked the British Embassy for their co-operation.’
It’s understood the brothers shared a room with Mr Miller at the Ocean View Bungalows, where Miss Witheridge was also staying.
Region 8 Police Commander Panya Mamen told PhuketWan: ‘David Miller’s luggage contains a pair of bloodstained pants, which adds to the mystery.
‘There was also blonde hair on a mobile telephone police have now located.’
A spokesman for the British Embassy in Bangkok, which released a statement yesterday saying they had no information to suggest any British national is a suspect in the investigation, confirmed that this is still the case.
He added: ‘The investigation is a matter for the Thai authorities.’
Later, he was taken to the beach where the murder took place, reports local news source PhuketWan
Dozens of officers have been scouring Koh Tao, speaking to locals, foreign visitors and migrant workers form Burma. At least six migrant workers were questioned and later released as part of the inquiry.
Mr Miller, from Jersey, and Ms Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, had travelled to the island separately. Ms Witheridge, who was doing post-graduate work at the the University of Essex in Colchester, was travelling with three female friends and had only arrived on Koh Tao, or Turtle Island, three days ago.
Both she and Mr Miller were staying at the Ocean View Bungalows. Mr Ware was sharing a room with Mr Miller.
On Tuesday, the families of the Britons paid tribute in statements issued through the British government. The family of Ms Witheridge, whose Facebook page suggested she had a keen interest in horses, described her as a “a beautiful, intelligent, loving young woman who poured joy into the lives of all who knew her”.
They added: “She was selfless and caring and made each and every day that little bit more wonderful.”
Mr Miller, from Jersey, was studying civil and structural engineering at Leeds University. He had completed an internship in Australia and was spending some weeks traveling in South East Asia. He had been due to leave Thailand on Tuesday.