‘We are grateful to His Majesty the King of Thailand for showing his clemency to the murderers of our son David’
The family of a murder victim have praised Thailand’s king for commuting the death sentence on the men who killed him.
Ian and Sue Miller, from St Helier in the Channel Islands, have been campaigning against the capital sentence issued to two migrant workers from Myanmar.
“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 the consequences of their acts,” the Millers said.
The bodies of their son, David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, of Norfolk, England, were found on a beach on the island of Koh Tao in 2014.
Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun were convicted and sentenced to death but the campaign to commute the execution order won the support of the Millers.
The Witheridge family has not commented.
“We are grateful to His Majesty the King of Thailand for showing his clemency to the murderers of our son David,” the Millers said, according to the BBC.
“Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo finally admitted to the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge and the murder of our son.
“The final admittance of their guilt has allowed this act of clemency to become possible.
“Every moment we miss our son. Our thoughts are also with the Witheridge family and the tragic loss of their daughter.”
Defence lawyers for the two men had argued the evidence used to convict them was unreliable and claimed that confessions by the pair were obtained under duress.
Thailand’s top court threw out that argument last year saying the evidence against the men was clear.
That meant commuting their sentences had been the pair’s only hope to escape death.
The case prompted strong reactions in Myanmar, where many felt the men had been given an unfair trial because low-paid migrant workers are often treated with contempt by its public.
“I can’t find words to express how thankful we are,” Ye Zaw Tun, a brother of Win Zaw Tun, told AFP after the decree was announced.
“We knew this case was totally unfair and we sometimes feel bitterness, but we want to say thanks for the royal pardon.”