UK families say Koh Tao case looks convincing

Relatives of murdered British tourist Hannah Witheridge hug ahead of a police briefing at the Thai police headquarters in Bangkok on September 18, 2014.

THE FAMILIES of two Britons murdered on Koh Tao several months ago have said evidence against Myanmar migrants accused of the crime looks convincing.

The families released statements on Friday supportive of a much-criticised investigation by the Thai police.

Migrant workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun are accused of murdering 24-year-old David Miller and raping and murdering Hannah Witheridge, 23, on the island, near Koh Pha-ngan in the Gulf of Thailand, in September.

The defendants, both aged 21, are due to enter a plea in the trial tomorrow, according to prosecutors on Koh Samui, where the case will be heard.

In statements released through Britain's Foreign Office, the victims' families said they had seen strong evidence against the suspects and expressed confidence in the case.

"There is a great deal of detail and vast areas of investigative work which has been shared with us," Witheridge's family said in a statement.

"We would like to stress that as a family we are confident in the work that has been carried out into these atrocious crimes."

British detectives travelled to Thailand to review the police investigation into the murders after widespread criticism of blunders such as allowing reporters to trample over the crime scene.

Rights groups also raised concerns over the case after the two suspects retracted confessions they had made to the crime, and said they had been tortured.

On Friday the family of Miller criticised "increasing sensationalism of this story" and said that "speculation" should be suspended until all evidence is made public.

"The support for the Myanmar suspects has been strong and vocal, but please do not jump to conclusions until you have considered the evidence from both sides in full," Miller's family said.

"From what we have seen, the suspects have a difficult case to answer. The evidence against them appears to be powerful and convincing."

The suspects' families and legal team say they are innocent and have been made scapegoats of a crime by police keen to find a quick resolution.

The events have further damaged Thailand's image as a tourist haven after months of political protests led to an army coup in May and the imposition of martial law.

The families of Miller and Witheridge issued statements thanking police detectives for reviewing the case, and calling for the investigation to be allowed to take its course, The Guardian reported.

"We would like to thank the officers who travelled to Thailand to review the case and the Royal Thai Police for facilitating their visit," Witheridge's family said.

Miller's family said: "We would like to express our relief that progress is being made in Thailand and this case is finally coming to court."