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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May, 2005, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Father hails Thai murder ruling
Brian and Lynda Lloyd leaving the court
Members of the Lloyd and Arscott families were in court for the verdict
A Thai policeman convicted of murdering two British backpackers was a "butcher" who could expect no mercy, one of the victims' fathers has said.

Somchai Witsetsingh, 40, killed Adam Lloyd, 25, of Torquay, and Vanessa Arscott, 23, of Ashburton, Devon, in 2004, after a row at his restaurant.

A judge in Kanchanaburi, west of Bangkok, sentenced him to life in jail.

Outside the court Mr Lloyd's father, Brian, said: "No form of punishment will ever bring our children back."

He ended our children's lives with as much compassion as would be shown to a rabid dog
Graham Arscott

"We trust that the sentence given to the butcher will be served in full.

"He showed them no mercy and cannot expect us to give him any mercy."

Witsetsingh was given two life sentences for the killings and convicted on two separate weapons charges.

He had faced the death sentence but Judge Dilok Boonthawinant said a confession to police - later claimed to have been given under duress - reduced it to life imprisonment.

Miss Arscott's father, Graham Arscott, also in Thailand for the sentencing, welcomed the verdict.

Vanessa Arscott and Adam Lloyd

He told Sky News: "We feel the verdict recognises the cold-blooded and callous way he ended our children's lives with as much compassion as would be shown to a rabid dog."

Miss Arscott's grandmother, Eileen Arscott, of Kingsteignton, south Devon, said: "I hate him, he killed my granddaughter and her boyfriend for no reason at all".

During the trial, Witsetsingh changed his story and claimed an informant had killed the young couple.

But the judge said several witnesses had seen Somchai's car at the scene and seen him with the two backpackers.

"The witnesses' testimony was credible. None of these witnesses had any reason for bias against the accused," the judge said.

Police Master Sergeant Somchai Wisetsingh
Somchai murdered Adam Lloyd then ran over Vanessa Arscott

Witsetsingh, who surrendered to the authorities on 7 October, told the court he shot Mr Lloyd after the Briton spat in his face during an argument.

He claimed he had not met them before the row outside the restaurant but photos later recovered from Miss Arscott's camera showed him kissing her cheek.

He said he had not intended to kill Miss Arscott, whom he hit with his car as she tried to stop him from fleeing and then shot in a panic.

'Two dear kids'

The killing happened near the bridge over the River Kwai, where Japanese troops used World War II prisoners to build a railway .

Miss Arscott's mother Joyce, who flew out to Thailand with her younger sister Alyssa on Tuesday night, said: "They were two dear kids. They had a wonderful holiday and said what a lovely country it was, what lovely people they met.

"Although they were looking forward to coming home, they said 'Thailand has been like a home to us'."

Miss Arscott and Mr Lloyd had been travelling in Thailand for two months. They were killed two days before they were to fly home.

The police sergeant eventually surrendered after going on the run

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