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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 January 2006, 10:40 GMT
Father visits Thai murder scene
Katherine Horton

The father of a student murdered in Thailand on New Year's Day has made an emotional visit to the beach where she died.

The body of Katherine Horton, 21, from Cardiff, was found in the water at the island resort of Koh Samui on Monday.

Thai Police investigating her murder have taken DNA samples from people who were in the area at the time.

Ian Horton appealed directly for help in tracing his daughter's killers before laying a wreath on the beach.

"The perpetrator is too cowardly to offer themselves to justice in Thailand but there is a person here that knows," he said.

Ian Horton (centre), Miss Horton's brother Christopher (left) and her friend Ruth Adams (right) in Thailand on Thursday
Katherine came to Thailand to dance on a beach, to ride an elephant, to have a vacation before her finals at university
Katherine Horton's father Ian

"A person that can assist the police. Someone that can maybe save another life. I urge that person to come forward to speak out."

Mr Horton, who travelled to the island with his son Christopher who lives in Australia, made an emotional tribute to his daughter, a final year psychology student at Reading University.

Miss Horton's friend Ruth Adams with whom she travelled to Thailand, was also there.

'Immune to dangers'

"Katherine came to Thailand to dance on a beach, to ride an elephant, to have a vacation before her finals at university," he said.

"She was full of confidence and felt immune to the dangers of this world as we have all felt when we were young adults.

"Tragically her faith in her fellow man let her down and she has been taken from us forever."

He said he now wished to return his daughter's body to her home with dignity and privacy.

Meanwhile, Thai detectives have set up an incident room at the beach.

Lamai beach, Koh Samui, Thailand
Her father has been to the beach where Miss Horton was staying

Police said she had been attacked with a blunt instrument and that they believed she had been raped.

Samui Police Lieutenant Colonel Thanongsak Aksornsom said: "The suspect is probably a Thai national and we believe he is still on the island."

Miss Horton was last seen alive on 1 January when she wandered away from friends on the beach to speak to her mother on her mobile phone.

Her body was discovered in the sea early the next day.

The results of a post-mortem examination revealed that her clothing was dishevelled and that she had suffered bruising as well as head and other internal injuries.

Thai authorities said a DNA sample has been recovered from her body but the task in finding the killer will be extremely difficult.

South Wales Police confirmed on Thursday that a second post mortem examination will be carried out once Miss Horton's body arrives home.

It will be conducted at the request of the Cardiff coroner.

Student's 'passion for life'
03 Jan 06 |  Wales
Country profile: Thailand
28 Oct 05 |  Country profiles

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