Norfolk

Thai beach murders: Coroner rules Norfolk student's death 'unlawful'

Hannah Witheridge Image copyright EPA
Image caption Hannah Witheridge, of Hemsby, Norfolk, was a postgraduate speech and language therapy student at Essex University

A 23-year-old British woman who died in Thailand was unlawfully killed, an inquest has found.

Hannah Witheridge, from Hemsby in Norfolk, died along with David Miller, 24, from Jersey, in an attack on Koh Tao island in 2014.

Burmese migrants Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were convicted of the murders and sentenced to death in December.

Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake ruled Ms Witheridge's death was caused by "severe head injuries".

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In October 2014, about 200 people gathered inside St Mary's Church in Hemsby for the speech and language therapy student's funeral.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The family of David Miller - who was murdered with Hannah Witheridge - said people should respect the conviction of Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo

In a statement read to the inquest, Ms Witheridge's mother Susan told how her daughter was thinking of going on holiday to mainland Europe or Australia but made a late decision to go to Thailand.

"None of the family was happy with her going there, but she had made her mind up," said Mrs Witheridge.

She said the death "changed our lives forever".

She added that on being told the news Ms Witheridge's father, Tony, had burst into the kitchen and "collapsed crying and sobbing".

Amnesty International has called for an independent inquiry over allegations Thai police tortured both defendants during the inquiry.

On their conviction in December, Michael Miller, David Miller's brother, urged those who had doubted the accused's guilt to respect the court's decision.

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