Myanmar men plead not guilty in British tourists' murders

Bangkok, Dec 8: Two men from Myanmar accused of murdering two British tourists in Thailand pleaded not guilty Monday.

The men were charged Dec 4 after prosecutors reviewed a 900-page police report into the murder of David Miller, 24, and the rape-murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, Sep 15, the Bangkok Post reported.

UK men's murder;suspects plead innocent

Police had arrested Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, both 21, in October, saying DNA taken from the pair matched samples found on the victims.

The were indicted on five counts -- premeditated murder, killing to conceal a criminal offence, rape, illegal entry into Thailand and staying in the country without permission.

After the Koh Samui Provincial Court read out the charges, the two defendants reportedly conferred with their attorney from the Lawyers Council of Thailand, Nakhon Chomphuchat, for about 10 minutes before denying all charges.

Deputy chief judge of the Koh Samui Provincial Court, Sunawin Suriyapan, set Feb 25 for the next hearing.

Myanmar embassy officials plan to submit another bail application for Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, along with assurance they will not flee Thailand.

Miller and Witheridge were beaten to death and their bodies found semi-naked near a beachside bungalow on the island.

Witheridge's skirt was hiked up to her waist and her T-shirt pulled up. She was raped and had a huge injury on her face. Miller had an injury on the back of his head.

A bloodstained hoe (a hand tool used for gardening) was found at the scene.

The couple had arrived on the island Aug 25.

According to witnesses, Miller and Witheridge were seen partying on the beach with a group of about six people the night they were murdered.

Koh Tao, boasting white sand beaches and azure waters, draws hordes of foreign tourists to its "full moon" parties.


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