BANGKOK - British police have departed from Thailand after reviewing an investigation into the murder of two Britons on a southern Thai island and will now compile a report of their findings, Scotland Yard said on Tuesday (Nov 11).
Detectives from Britain flew to Thailand last month to observe the police probe into the murder of David Miller, 24, and the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, after the tourists' battered bodies were found on Koh Tao in September.
Thai authorities allowed them to observe the investigation after Britain expressed concerns and offered to help with the case amid widespread criticism of the Thai police probe at home and overseas.
Detectives "have completed their work, as far as possible", said the Metropolitan Police in a statement released on Tuesday. "They will now be returning to the UK to compile their report and to update the families of Hannah and David on their findings," it said. A Metropolitan Police spokesman later confirmed the British detectives had departed from Thailand.
Thai police had hailed a breakthrough in their investigation after charging two Myanmar migrant workers with the murders and rape, claiming DNA evidence and confessions. But last month Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun, both in their 20s, retracted their confessions, alleging they were obtained under duress.
Thai authorities have strongly denied using the pair as scapegoats, insisting their case is built on solid evidence showing the DNA of the accused from initial tests matches samples taken from Witheridge's body.
Last month Britain summoned Thailand's top diplomat in London to lay out its "real concern" about the probe. The grisly murders on the normally tranquil Thai island delivered a fresh blow to the kingdom's image as a tourist haven after months of political protests that ended in May's army coup.