[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 10:17 GMT
Men face sentence for Thai murder
Katherine Horton and Ruth Adams (right) on Lamai Beach, Koh Samui on New Year's Day
Katherine Horton (left) was on holiday with friend Ruth Adams
Two fishermen are awaiting sentence for the rape and murder of British student Katherine Horton following their trial in Thailand on Friday.

A court heard how Miss Horton, 21, from Cardiff, was beaten with a parasol pole and later dragged out to sea off Koh Samui where she drowned.

Wichai Somkhaoyai, 24 and Bualoi Posit, 23, admitted rape and conspiracy to kill at the court in Surat Thani.

The case has been adjourned until next Wednesday when the men face sentencing.

The fishermen will return to court where the judge will decide whether to pass the maximum sentence of death.

The one-day trial on Friday was told that the men had been watching pornographic films on their boat on the evening of 1 January.

They then swam ashore using plastic petrol cans as buoyancy and attacked Miss Horton on the beach as she talked to her mother on her mobile phone.

The men hit her about the head and shoulders with a parasol pole and took turns to rape her while the other held her down, the trial heard.

After that they dragged her out to sea to a boat and used that to tow her further out, where the Reading University student drowned.

The court heard that a British tourist, Christopher Burrows, who later found Miss Horton's mobile phone on the beach, heard a faint voice calling out in English: "I'm sinking, I'm sinking."

Wichai Somkhaoyai (left) and Bualoi Posit arrive in court on Friday
The suspects appeared in court at Surat Thani on Friday

The discovery of the mobile phone on the beach led police to investigate fishing boats moored offshore, the trial was told.

Thai officers boarded the boats posing as fish traders, before telling those on board DNA tests would be carried out.

The court was told it was at this point the two men on trial admitted they carried out the murder.

The attack took place at 2100 local time on New Year's Day, close to where Miss Horton was staying on Lamai Beach, on the island of Koh Samui.

Her body was washed up the next morning on a remote beach a few kilometres away where it was found by a water biker.

The trial on Friday heard from eight witnesses, including police officers, forensic doctors and fishermen.

The fishermen did not address the court directly, but confirmed their earlier statements admitting guilt.

Memorial blessing

Thailand's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has declared that the men should face the maximum penalty because of damage done to the country's image.

The provisional court of Surat Thani is around 330 miles (520 kilometres) south west of the capital Bangkok.

Bungalow accommodation on Lamai beach
Miss Horton was staying with a friend in bungalows on Lamai beach

Miss Horton had travelled to Thailand with a university friend for a two-week holiday.

She had been on Lamai beach with a group of 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.

Her body was discovered some 12 hours later.

Miss Horton's funeral will take place on Tuesday at St Isan's Church, in Llanishen, Cardiff, followed by private cremation.

Meanwhile, a service of prayer for Miss Horton took place on Thursday at Reading University where she was a psychology undergraduate.

A Buddhist memorial blessing in Miss Horton's memory was held on Thursday on Lamai beach by the people of Koh Samui.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the accused as they are led from a van in handcuffs



RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific