PHICHIT – The Frenchman suspected of involvement in the murder of an Italian expatriate alleged admitted to the police that he killed the victim and, together with the victim’s wife, tried to cover up the crime by burning the body in the bushes in Phichit province.
French National Rigaux Amaury,34 and his 38-year old girlfriend, Mrs Rutjira Iam-lamai who was the estranged wife of the Italian victim, 61-year old Giuseppe de Stefani, were escorted by police to Phichit’s Bueng Narang district police station for interrogation.
Mr Amaury and Mrs Rutjira were arrested at a forest in Wang Chao district of Tak province after 10 days on the run.
The victim’s charred body was found burned beyond recognition in a bonfire of car tires in the bushes near a reservoir in Bueng Narang district on Jan 19.
Initially, the two suspects denied they murdered the Italian and blamed each other for being the killer. But after being quizzed for several hours, Mr Amaury allegedly gave in and admitted of killing the victim while Mrs Rutjira admitted that she helped destroy the corpse.
After the confessions, police brought them to the crime scene for reenactment.
According to Thai PBS Mr Amaury told police at the crime scene that, on the night of Jan 18, the two of them and the victim were travelling in the same car with the Frenchman on the steering wheel to settle their love triangle affairs.
Upon arriving at a spot along a road running parallel to an irrigation canal about 10 km from the spot where De Stefani’s body was found, the two men got off the car for talks and eventually got into a heated quarrel and a fist fight.
The quarrel continued which ended with Mr Amaury allegedly killing Stafani with a knife. Then he and Mrs Rutjira helped put the victim’s body into the car and the Frenchman drove the car to buy petrol for use in the burning of the victim’s body in the bushes near the reservoir.
After that, Mr Amaury and Mrs Rutjira checked into a hotel in Phichit for a night’s rest before they would return to the crime scene the next morning to burn the body again to make sure that it was completely destroyed.
However, some villagers stumbled on the burned body and alerted the police, prompting the two suspects to escape and hide in a forest in Tak province where they were captured by Tak police on Jan 29.
Pol Col Chaisathien Maneechak, the superintendent of Bueng Narang district police, said the two suspects were charged with murder and concealing corpse.