The Phuket Court has sentenced Teerawat Thothip to death for the murder of Swiss tourist Nicole Sauvain-Weisskopf at a waterfall in Muang district on Aug 3, 2021, and then commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.
Sauvain-Weisskopf, then aged 57, had arrived in Phuket under the Sandbox programme.
The court was told that Teerawat, also known as Bang Faree and Bang Ree, 28, had gone to Ao Yon waterfall in tambon Wichit on Aug 3 to collect wild orchids and plants.
On the way down, Teerawat came across Sauvain-Weisskopf, who was deputy protocol chief of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, sitting on a rock dabbling her feet in a stream.
She was wearing shorts and an undershirt, and he became sexually aroused.
With the intention of raping her, Teerawat walked up behind the woman and grabbed her in a choke hold. When she struggled, he forced her head into the water until she became unconscious.
The court heard that Teerawat dragged her to the shore and stripped off her shorts and underwear.
When he turned his victim face up, he saw the woman’s face had turned dark with her tongue swollen out. He lost his sexual desire.
Teerawat used a black plastic sheet he found nearby to cover her body and covered that with rocks.
He searched her bag and stole 300 baht cash.
Teerawat was arrested a few days later and charged with murder, attempted rape and indecent assault.
The court found Teerawat guilty of murder as charged and sentenced him to death.
The death sentence was commuted to life because he confessed to the crime.
The attempted rape and indecent assault charges were dismissed.
The victim’s Swiss husband and two sons watched from Switzerland via live teleconference on Google Meet as the Phuket Court delivered its sentence on Tuesday afternoon.