Murdered backpacker parents ‘pleased’ his killers won’t face death penalty

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The parents of David Miller – who was found dead on a Thai beach along with fellow backpacker Hannah Witheridge – have expressed their relief his killers won’t be sentenced to death.

Mr Miller, from Jersey, was just 24 and Miss Withering, from Norfolk, was just 23 when they were found dead on a beach on the Thai island of Koh Tao in 2014.

Miss Withering had also been raped during the violent murders which took place in September that year.

Killers Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were sentenced to death by Thai courts following a trial – but have now had their sentences reduced to life imprisonment.

The change to their fates was due to the King Vajiralongkorn commuting the sentences as part of his 68th birthday celebrations – with the royal pardon announced on Friday.

Mr Miller’s family said they are “grateful” for the Thai king’s act of mercy but are hopeful the killers will spend many years behind bars for their crimes.

Parents Ian and Sue Miller spoke to Jersey Evening Post, saying: “We are grateful to His Majesty the King of Thailand for showing his clemency to the murderers of our son David.

  • Brit backpacker ‘drugged, robbed and raped on notorious Thai death island’

"Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo finally admitted to the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge and the murder of our son, David, on Sairee beach in September 2014.

"This followed a string of unsuccessful court appeals culminating in the Supreme Court of Thailand.

"But in the end the truth has been revealed.

  • Murderers of Brit backpackers to be executed after losing last-ditch appeal

"Every moment we miss our son. Our thoughts are also with the Witheridge family and the tragic loss of their daughter.

"We hope that these two murderers will now spend a very very long time in jail where they cannot harm other families and will have time to reflect on their stupidity."

  • Parents of murdered backpacker Hannah Witheridge begged her not to travel to Thailand

Mr Lin and Mr Phyo were first convicted and sentenced in 2015 but their sentence was upheld by the appeals court in 2017 and the Supreme Court in August 2019.

The pair are said to have now finally admitted their guilt – with the admittance said to have been a factor in the act of leniency granted by King Vajiralongkorn.

The case was controversial, however, as the killers argued they had been forced to confess the crimes under duress.

  • Crime
  • Courts

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