Tue, Jan 10, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Two Thais admit killing tourist

BEATEN AND RAPED Thailand's police said that two fishermen have confessed to murdering a 21-year-old female British backpacker who was holidaying on Koh Samui

AP , BANGKOK

Wichai Suankhaoyai, 24, center, is escorted by plainclothes police officers at police headquarters in Bangkok yesterday. He is one of two Thai fishermen arrested after the rape and slaying of a 21-year-old female British tourist at the Koh Samui resort.

PHOTO: AP

Two Thai fisherman have confessed to the rape and murder of a British tourist who was attacked during an evening beach stroll on New Year's Day at a resort island in Thailand, police said yesterday.

Katherine Horton, 21, a university student from Cardiff, Wales, was vacationing on the popular Thai resort of Koh Samui.

Her battered body, still clad in an evening dress, was discovered on the morning of Jan. 2 by a jet skier in the Gulf of Thailand.

Police said they arrested two fisherman early yesterday at a pier in Koh Samui, after questioning more than a dozen suspects, both Thai and foreigners.

"The suspects have admitted to raping and killing the British tourist, but we have brought them to Bangkok for DNA testing to be sure," Police Major Asawin Khawanmuang told reporters at police headquarters in Bangkok.

One of the suspects, Bualoy Kotisith, 23, told police he had raped Horton, while the other suspect, Wichai Suankhaoyai, 24, confessed to being an accomplice to her murder, police said.

Under questioning, the fishermen told police they spotted Horton while she was walking alone on a beach talking on her mobile phone and approached her from behind, Asawin said.

He said the two men admitted that they beat Horton with a wooden club, raped her and then dragged her into the sea.

Horton had apparently called her mother at home in Wales. Her mother, Elizabeth Horton, told police she was speaking with her daughter when she heard her scream, and then the line went dead, police Major Panya Mamen said.

Police said last week that tests on Horton's body found traces of semen that could have come from her killer, but said at the time that there was no evidence of rape.

They also had said previously that Horton was believed to have been killed by a single person.

The doctor who performed the autopsy in Bangkok, Lieutenant-Colonel Pattana Kitkailart, said doctors had initially said there was no evidence of rape because tests on Horton's body showed no sign of injury to her internal organs.

He added, however, that they had not ruled out rape.

"She could have been raped while unconscious," Pattana said.

Investigators have not yet determined whether she was raped before or after being beaten.

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