Shock as 'grief-stricken' Thai woman arrested for husband's murder

PHOTO: The Nation/Asia News Network

A 60-year old woman, whose grief over her husband's murder in Ayutthaya on February 8 won her widespread sympathy, has been arrested and accused of being the mastermind behind the killing.

Prapassorn Thoprayoon admitted her part in the murder because her husband, whom she had been with for more than two decades, had become "abusive and subjected her to domestic violence in recent years", national police deputy commissioner Pol General Chalermkiat Srivorakan said on Wednesday.

House builder Thawat Suksangkan, 63, was shot dead in his pick-up truck by two men on a motorcycle while he was taking his wife to sell goods at a school in Ayutthaya's Nakhon Luang district on the morning of February 8. The attack happened after his wife got out of the truck and was opening the school gate.

Prapassorn claimed the assailants quickly fled the scene and in a grief-stricken state, tearfully told police that she didn't know who would want her husband dead, prompting them to suspect the shooting might be linked to a dispute arising from a money-lending business he allegedly ran.

Those suspicions ended as police arrested alleged shooter Montri Chomthanom at his home in tambon Lumplee on Monday and he said he had been hired by Prapassorn to kill her husband for a fee of 100,000 baht (S$4,300).

When police duly arrested her, there was shock among her relatives, including Thawat's younger sister Prangthip Paorik, 50, who recalled how devastated Prapassorn had been over her husband's death.

Prangthip, saying she didn't know the motive and couldn't confirm if the couple fought a lot, admitted that her brother was rather short-tempered. Chalermkiat told reporters on Wednesday that police had secured arrest warrants for six people.

They were Prapassorn, alleged shooter Montri, getaway motorcyclist Sarawuth Sencharoen, an accomplice Apichat Meesomkan, who police say conducted reconnaissance missions of the scene, the alleged supplier of the gun and getaway motorcycle Tawan Sileung, and Prapassorn's son-in-law Sarawuth Songchom, who allegedly helped her find a gun-for-hire group.

Police had so far arrested four of the six, Chalermkiat said - Prapassorn, Montri, Tawan and Sarawuth.

The officer added that all four had admitted to their parts in the assassination, most notably the instigator Prapassorn, who claimed domestic violence was the motive for her to pay the gang a total of 200,000 baht to kill her husband.

The police were still hunting the two elusive suspects last night. 

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