Thai woman, French boyfriend blame each other for Italian's murder

PHOTO: The Nation/Asia News Network

BANGKOK - A THAI woman and her French boyfriend have turned on each other after their arrests, with each blaming the other for the murder of the woman’s Italian ex-husband.

Rujira Eiumlamai, 38, told police after her arrest yesterday that she was innocent of the murder, saying it had been perpetrated by her French boyfriend, Rigaux Amaury, 34, with whom she fled after the victim’s body was found on January 19.

Phichit’s Bung Narang superintendent Pol Colonel Chaisathien Maneejak said Rujira also admitted witnessing the killing, but claimed to have only assisted Amaury in burning her ex-husband’s body to conceal the crime.

Rujira’s testimony contradicted that of Amaury, who police said had told officers during hours of questioning that he had not been involved in the murder.

He allegedly said Rujira and her Thai ex-boyfriend had killed de Stefani and he had simply helped her escape.

Police quoted the woman as saying the motive for the killing stemmed from a love triangle. 

Rujira said her Italian ex-husband Giuseppe de Stefani, 61, had previously offer Amaury Bt100,000 (S$4,172) to stop contacting her but Amaury had refused to comply.

She claimed that she and the two men drove to a wooded area in Phichit to resolve the dispute but the situation escalated, resulting in Amaury killing de Stefani.

Both Rujira and Amaury then tried to conceal the crime by dismembering and burning the body, which was later found in the same area.

Chaisathien said police suspected a knife which had already been submitted for forensic tests had been used as the murder weapon.

The apparently exhausted Rujira was apprehended after she was found hiding in a longan tree at a plantation in Tambon Chiang Thong of Tak’s Wang Chao district yesterday morning.

Amaury had already been captured on Sunday night in a wooded area five kilometres away from the plantation.

The arrest came after residents in Wang Chao told police they had spotted Rujira and Amaury living in the forest. 

Amaury reportedly had served as a sniper in the French army for five years and is skilled in wilderness survival.

The two suspects were later yesterday sent to Phichit police to face charges.

The Phichit Court had issued arrest warrants for Rujira and Amaury for allegedly murdering and burning the body of de Stefani in Bung Narang district. 

The remains of the burned body were found in a wooded area near Bung Thab Chan pond in Tambon Laemran on January 19. 

After de Stefani’s tattoo was recognised on the leg of the corpse, police searched Rujira’s home on January 21, prompting her to flee with Amaury. 

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