Monday, January 23, 2006

Death Sentence For Killers Of British Tourist

Two fishermen were condemned to death 5 days ago, for the rape and murder of a British backpacker in Thailand, a crime that jolted the post-tsunami tourism industry, enraged the Prime Minister and triggered the swiftest of trials.

The verdict was handed down just 17 days, after the murder. Bualoi Posit, 23, and Wichai Somkhaoyai, 24, are to be executed for the attack on 21-year-old student Katherine Horton on Koh Sumaui, a popular resort island. The two men pleaded guilty in a Surat Thani court last week to raping Ms.Horton, of Cardiff, as she walked on a beach on the evening of New Year's Day. The killed her and dumped her body in the Gulf of Thailand.

The court found that Ms.Horton was attacked by the men as she spoke to her mother, Elizabeth, on her mobile phone. Her mother heard a scream before the line went dead. Her battered body was found in Lamai Bay the following day by a jet skier.

Mrs. Horton had said she did not want to see her daughter's killers given the death penalty. She told the News of the World in London that the men should instead spend the rest of their lives behind bars. The defendants have one month to appeal.

The fishermen have made no public statements of remorse. Under interrogation before the trial, they allegedly told police the had been drinking and watching pornographic movies on their boat before swimming to shore, where they spotted Ms. Horton alone on a beach talking on her mobile phone.

Bualoi allegedly told police he grabbed hurting arms, while Wichai allegedly admitted to hitting her several times with a stick before they raped her and than threw her body into the sea. Prosecution witnesses included a fisherman, Sama-ae Nukhong, who worked on the boat with the defendants. He said Wichai and Bualoi told him that they had raped and killed a Western woman.

Ms Horton was buried on Tuesday in her native Cardiff,Wales.

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