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Leeds University student murder trial stalls

Hannah Witheridge and David Miller

Hannah Witheridge and David Miller

by Mike Berriman

The trial of two Burmese men accused of murdering two British backpackers in Thailand, one of whom was a Leeds University student, stalled today after a police officer failed to present key DNA evidence.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Somsak Nurod appeared confused in court when asked to produce forensic evidence that he said may have been destroyed.

Lead defence lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat said: “Some of the forensic with him has already [been] used up. Some things he is not sure about.”

When asked if he was disappointed that key DNA evidence may have been lost or unusable, Chompuchat said: “We expected this before.”

The bodies of Leeds University student David Miller, 24, from Jersey, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Great Yarmouth were found on the popular Thai tourist island of Koh Tao last September.

The two defendants, Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, are being represented by pro-bono lawyers and human rights activists who accuse Thai police of improperly collecting evidence from the scene of the crime.

The families of the two British victims are in Koh Samui for the trial.

Speaking before the hearing, Mr Miller’s family said they hoped justice would be done “fairly and openly.”

Verdicts in the case are not expected until October.

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