KALASIN – The Court of Appeal on Tuesday upheld a primary court ruling sentencing to death a 36-year-old former village headman for murdering an 18-year-old schoolgirl during a rape attempt in Thailand’s Northeastern Province of Kalasin’s in 2015.
The ruling also included an order for Ban Si Than former village headman Krittidech Rawengwan to pay the family of slain Rong Kham School student Ruadeewan “Nong Snow” Polprasit Bt2.39 million in compensation.
The court found Krittidech guilty of killing Ruadeewan while trying to rape her.
His claim of innocence was denied as evidence, including a human bite mark found on his finger and another wound on a testicle, had been put before the court.
Ruadeewan’s parents Krit and Lamyai Polprasit and relatives held the slain girl’s photograph as they gathered outside the Kalasin Provincial Court yesterday morning prior to the verdict reading.
Lamyai became tearful and said the tiredness she had felt for over 900 days after the loss of her beloved daughter disappeared when she heard the latest verdict. She thanked officials involved in the case, along with police and media, for following through on the case until justice was served. She also thanked the public for their moral support.
The Court of Appeal found Krittidech guilty of killing the girl while trying to rape her on December 23, 2015 while she was riding her motorcycle home from school.
Krittidech, pursuing her on another motorcycle, kicked the girl’s motorcycle to the ground and dragged her into a roadside ditch where he attempted to rape her. Ruadeewan fought him off but suffered serious injuries that caused her death two days later.
Krittidech, detained at the Khlong Phai Prison, was not in court but reportedly was notified about the latest verdict.
The family is struggling to cope with the loss of Ruadeewan.
“I still feel pain in my heart every time I pass the spot of her attack. Whenever I miss her, I look at her pictures on the wall or in her Facebook page. I keep dreaming of her and I wake crying,” Lamyai said.
If the girl were alive today, she would have been studying at a nurse’s college as per her dream to become a nurse to help others, the mother said.
The family also lost all of their savings to pay for funeral expenses and the lawsuit, and had to mortgage their rice field to keep the family afloat during the court battle, Lamyai said.
“Our family will fight until the end so the attacker will get a maximum punishment, especially the death sentence, so that this will serve as a precautionary tale so it won’t happen in Thai society again,” she said.
Ruadeewan’s 31-year-old sister Pattranit Polprasert said: “Heaven has eyes so the innocent person’s death won’t be in vain and the one who committed a crime is punished for his deed.”
Neighbour Suthee Arunpas, 50, said he sympathised with the family and wants to see capital punishment for the culprit, so no one would follow in his footsteps and break the law – especially in rape-murder cases.
According to human-rights group Amnesty International, multiple studies have discredited claims that capital punishment deters crime. “There is no evidence that the death penalty is any more effective than life imprisonment,” according to Amnesty, which also notes that many executed people were later found to have been innocent.
By Jakkapong Rawiwan