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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 08:14 GMT
Thailand murder accused in court
Katherine Horton and Ruth Adams (right) on Lamai Beach, Koh Samui on New Year's Day

Two men accused of raping and murdering British holidaymaker Katherine Horton have appeared before a Thai court.

Wichai Somkhaoyai, 24, and Bualoi Posit, 23, were arrested on Monday over the Reading University student's death.

The body of Miss Horton, 21, from Cardiff, was found in the sea off the island of Koh Samui on 2 January.

During Wednesday's brief hearing at Suritani on the Thai mainland, the two fishermen signed their names and were taken to Surat Thani provincial prison.

DNA evidence

The Foreign Office has said that under Thai law, the prosecution have 84 days from the point of arrest to prepare their case ahead of a trial.

However, there are reports that Thai police will expedite the trial.

Thai police Maj. Gen. Asawin Khawanmuang - deputy chief of the Royal Thai Police's investigation department - is reported to have told journalists: "It usually takes two to three months to file a case and the trial takes about one year.

"But in this case, we appeal (to the court) to expedite the trial because it involves the country's reputation."

Bualoi Posit (left) and Wichai Somkhaoyai
The suspects appeared in court on Wednesday

Thai police said they have confessions from the men and DNA evidence linking them to the murder of Miss Horton on the evening of New Year's Day on Koh Samui.

Posit is also said to have admitted rape, which is denied by Somkhaoyai.

A post mortem examination carried out on the body of Reading University student Miss Horton suggested she had been raped and beaten before being left to drown in the sea. Her body was discovered by a water biker in the sea off Lamai beach on 2 January.

Enjoying a two-week holiday, she had been on the beach with friends on 1 January, close to the bungalows they had rented, when she is said to have wandered away to speak to her mother on her mobile phone.

She had been travelling with university friend Ruth Adams who on Monday released a statement describing her "devastation" at Miss Horton's death.

Miss Adams added: "Kath and I were inseparable - we knew each other inside out and shared everything. "I cannot understand how something so evil could happen to someone so innocent, beautiful, passionate and selfless."

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