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Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 15:25 GMT
Remorse and blessings for victim
Sally Davies
BBC Wales News, Surat Thani and Koh Samui

Wichai Somkhaoyai (left) and Bualoi Posit arrive in court on Friday
The suspects appeared in court at Surat Thani on Friday
They sat in court, manacled hand and foot in their baggy brown prison-issue uniforms, listening intently.

This was the day which would help to determine the fate of the two illiterate Thai fishermen, who had already admitted raping and killing Katherine Horton, 21, from Cardiff.

All morning a police major general outlined in detail what he said had happened, frequently referring to a large hand-drawn map of the beach where Katherine had met her fate.

He told how the men, who were poor and uneducated, had swum ashore from their boat after watching a pornographic film.

They had then attacked Katherine as she spoke to her mother on a mobile phone while walking along Lamai beach near her beach bungalow on the tourist island of Koh Samui.

'Deep regret'

Earlier, the two men, Wichai Somkhaoyai, 24 and Bualoi Posit, 23, had been paraded into court upstairs and along a corridor, surrounded by cameramen, photographers and journalists from Thailand and Britain.

Map showing location in Thailand where the body was found

Throughout the day witness after witness stood up and gave evidence in Thai. But those in the dock did not utter a word.

Only afterwards, as once again they ran the media gauntlet, did Bualoi Posit express remorse, saying in answer to a question from a Thai journalist that he deeply regretted his actions.

As they were taken to the prison van, a crowd of Thai onlookers had gathered, curious to see the pair whose actions had shamed their country.

On the island of Koh Samui, there was such deep anger that police felt it was unsafe to keep the pair in custody on there, so they were transferred to the mainland.

The strength of that anger was evident the night a reconstruction of the attack was to have been staged on Lamai beach, as is the practice in Thailand.

While the police and the accused fishermen waited offshore, hundreds of locals gathered on the beach like a lynch-mob and the event was called off.

Buddhist blessing

On Thursday, local people had expressed their feelings in a calmer way. A Buddhist blessing was held at the spot in a remote bay where Katherine's body was discovered by a shocked water bike worker.

As the monks prayed, a specially written poem was read out in Thai, the words closely followed by the 100 or so present.

Each person was given a long-stemmed white rose which they cast into the waves after orange-robed monks placed an enormous wreath of roses into the sea in Katherine's memory.

It was a dignified and moving moment, sorrow at the unnecessary loss of a young life just 24 hours before the very different ritual when the two killers faced justice in a Thai court.



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