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Thai island murder Son of Spanish actor goes on trial

Thai island murder Son of Spanish actor goes on trial

Koh Samui – The murder trial of a famous Spanish actor’s son opened Tuesday on a popular Thai tourist island, where he will face charges of killing another foreigner.

Chef Daniel Sancho Bronchalo, 29, pleaded not guilty at a hearing in November to the murder of 44-year-old Colombian plastic surgeon Edwin Arrieta Arteaga on the nearby Koh Pha Ngan island.

The trial opened Tuesday on the honeymoon isle of Koh Samui, with scores of Spanish reporters flying in — despite being barred from the tiny courtroom.

Sancho’s father, well-known Spanish actor Rodolfo Sancho, arrived at court shortly after 8:30 am (0130 GMT).

“He is fine,” he said, declining to answer any further questions.

Spanish actor Rodolfo Sancho (C) arrives at court to attend the trial of his son Daniel Sancho Bronchalo.//AFP

Lawyer Juan Gonzalo Ospina Serrano, representing Arrieta’s family, said outside court ahead of the trial they hoped that “Thai law will be forceful, that the truth can be told”.

“We hope that the family can close this painful stage of their life and that they can begin their mourning,” he said.

Sancho has been in pre-trial detention in Thailand since August, after police said he had admitted to the murder.

Under Thai law, premeditated murder convictions carry the death penalty. However, Arrieta’s family previously said they would not seek the death penalty.

Sancho has admitted to hiding Arrieta’s body — which carries up to a year in jail — but he denies the second charge of destroying the Colombian’s passport.

Sancho’s lawyer Apichart Srinual confirmed that his client would appear in court, but declined to answer reporters’ questions.

The Thai public prosecutor who filed the case against Sancho also declined to speak to the media at the court.

The trial is expected to last until mid-May, with scores of witnesses due to appear in court.

Sancho and Arrieta were reported by Spanish media to have connected on Instagram in 2022, with Sancho travelling to Thailand on July 31 as a tourist, where he met the surgeon.

Police found body parts that are believed to belong to Arrieta in early August at a rubbish dump in Koh Pha Ngan.

CCTV footage obtained by local media showed Sancho and the victim on a motorcycle together shortly before the remains were discovered.

Police said in August Sancho’s motive for the killing was unclear.

Koh Pha Ngan is famed for its white sandy beaches and draws thousands of backpackers to its notoriously wild “full moon” parties.

In 2017, another Spaniard, Artur Segarra, was convicted of murdering a businessman in Bangkok and discarding dismembered body parts into the Chao Phraya River.

Agence France-Presse

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