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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 07:06 GMT 08:06 UK
Thai wife guilty of Briton murder
Panadda Laoruang (whose married name was Charnaud) arriving at court
Panadda Laoruang was at a fair with her son at the time of the killing
The Thai ex-wife of a murdered Briton, whose charred and dismembered remains were found scattered in the jungle, has been sentenced to life for his killing.

Toby Charnaud, 41, a former farmer from Chippenham, Wiltshire, vanished in March 2005 after going to collect his son from Panadda Laoruang's home.

The Petchaburi court convicted her, two relatives and a neighbour of murder. Another two men were acquitted.

The couple married in 1997 after meeting in a bar, but divorced in 2004.

Beaten to death

The Charnaud family lawyer, Bunchu Yensabai, said Mr Charnaud divorced his wife because of her addiction to gambling, according to reports.

Ms Laoruang, 35, was found guilty of hiring Bunthiam Phuiphong, 31, Chatri Sriprathum, 28, and Niphit Satabut, 27, to kill her ex-husband at her farm in the Kaeng Krajan National Park, 180 km (110 miles) south of Bangkok.

The court heard that the three co-defendants had first fired a home-made gun at the victim, and then beaten him to death.

Toby Charnaud
Mr Charnaud had owned two bars in the beach resort of Hua Hin

The prosecution argued that they had been paid by his ex-wife to kill him so she could inherit his money and property.

According to judge Sarayuth Busayanawin, they then tried to get rid of the body by burning it on 20 kg (44 lb) of charcoal and then burying the remains in a national park.

In a bizarre twist, Mr Charnaud had earlier won a writing contest with a short story that appeared to predict his own murder.

Mr Charnaud's mother, Sarah, who did not attend the hearing, issued a statement saying his family's lives had been "shattered" by his killing.

"For me, his mother, one of the worst horrors of his death is the fact that the first attempt to kill him failed and he would have been aware of his murderers making their fatal attack," she said.

She also called her son a kind and generous man and a "wonderful" father.


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