Mother-in-law admits she ordered killing

THAILAND - Slain Olympic sharpshooter Jakkrit Panichpatikum's mother-in-law has confessed to taking out a contract on his life.

"I needed to do it because he abused my daughter throughout the past six years," Surang Duangjinda said yesterday.

She said her daughter, Dr Nithiwadee Phucharoenyos, was not aware of the murder plot.

Police have charged both Surang and Nithiwadee with taking out the contract on Jakkrit's life, however. Both are now trying to secure bail - a move that is not opposed by the police.

Motherly love

"I did it because I love my daughter," Surang said as she showed up at the Social Development and Human Security Ministry. She and her daughter went there to apologise and thank Social Development and Human Security Minister Pavena Hongsakul.

The minister has earlier extended help to Nithiwadee over the reported domestic violence.

In tears, Nithiwadee said she did not know beforehand that her mother had plotted to kill her husband.

On October 19, Jakkrit was fatally shot while on his way to meet his wife and their children.

The couple had a rocky relationship. Earlier in the year, Nithiwadee and Jakkrit's mother had complained publicly of his domestic violence.

"I was shocked when my mum later told me. She's just a small woman without any connections, without any gang to carry out such an action," Nithiwadee said.

She said that, if possible, she wished to face any legal punishment related to the killing in place of her mother.

"Today, I have realised the great extent of motherly love," said Nithiwadee, who had two children with Jakkrit.

Miscarriage

Earlier this year, Nithiwadee had a miscarriage, reportedly because of Jakkrit's domestic violence. It was in a hospital room where Nithiwadee was receiving treatment that Surang is said to have arranged the contract on Jakkrit's life, allegedly via an acquaintance who had helped her with a condo sale.

"I had given him so many second chances. I had waited for him to improve himself. But his behaviour turned worse. He even abused his own children," Surang said.

She said she tried to encourage her daughter and Jakkrit to separate, but the couple insisted on staying together for the sake of their children.

"I couldn't cope with the fact that he kept hurting my daughter. I couldn't wait till my daughter died first," Surang said.

Nithiwadee said her family life was now destroyed.

"I hope my case provides a lesson to others," she said. She urged men to stop domestic violence and everyone to stay clear of drugs.

"Had my husband not abused drugs, he would not have hurt his own family," she said.

While Jakkrit's mother was forgiving, his father was still clearly holding a grudge.

"I wish my daughter-in-law a long, long life so that she realises hell exists," the father said.