PHILIPPINES – UK National Michael Taylor, accused of murdering his girlfriend in Thailand has still not been extradited to stand trial because police have been “too busy”?
Offshore worker Michael “Mick the Pom” Taylor, 50, was arrested in 2005 after he was accused of plunging a knife into his girlfriend Jantra Weangta’s heart in Phuket.
He went on the run midway through his trial in 2006 and was spotted in the Philippines in November.
He was arrested in the Philippines a month ago after his visa ran out.
But Phuket’s Chief Public Prosecutor Chiengsean Panhya has said he cannot pursue the extradition without a formal request from the police.
He told the Phuket Gazette: “I don’t have the authority to pursue it unless the police ask me to. Our office is not even permitted to ask the police to file such a request.
“However, once they do, the next step would be for us to forward the case to the Office of the Attorney General in Bangkok and it would then be in their hands to get Mr Taylor back to Thailand to face justice.”
Miss Weangta’s body was discovered in the rented bungalow the couple shared in idyllic Chalong Beach, Phuket.
Mr Taylor denied the charge, claiming he had been having sex on a beach with a ladyboy at the time Miss Weangta, 27, was killed.
At the time of the murder in 2005, Thai police recovered a large Bowie knife and a pair of bloodstained trousers, while prosecutors had lined up 13 witnesses, including a DNA expert, to testify against Mr Taylor.
Despite the seriousness of the accusation, Mr Taylor had been granted bail after a land title deed, valued at 400,000 baht (£8,000), was posted as a surety.
He fled in 2006, midway through the trial, which had been heavily delayed.
Information regarding Mr Taylor’s whereabouts in November was brought to the attention of Thai authorities after the owners of a bar in Pundakit, about 100 miles west of Manila, claimed they heard him bragging about the killing.
The Foreign Office confirmed the arrest of a British national in the Philippines on March 6 and has been providing consular assistance.
The case has provoked uproar in Thailand, with questions being asked of both the British and Thai authorities after Mr Taylor was permitted to slip through the nets.
The officer in charge of the case, Lieutenant Colonel Danprai Kaewwehol, of the Phuket Provincial Police, insists he wants Mr Taylor to be extradited back to Thailand and plans to hold talks to prosecutors.
Col Danprai has told journalists he had been “too busy” to follow up on Mr Taylor’s case.