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Today Ekkapan Gaewkla received a prison sentence of 33 years and 13 months at the Samui provincial court for the death of British Stephen Ashton, who was killed at the New Years Eve Full Moon Part on Haad Rin Beach is 2013 when Ekkapan opened fire with a homemade gun in the early hours of the morning.
City trader Stephen Ashton was 22 years old and enjoying the party and dancing when he was caught in the crossfire following fight between two rival groups of Thai men. After being shot in the torso he was rushed to Bandon International Hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was on a gap year with friends at the time of the incident.
The police quickly named their suspect as Ekkapan Kaewkla 26 and he was arrested in the remote hillside area of the island. The gun is said to have been homemade, Kaewkla admitted being in the fight but denied firing the fatal shot. However he later apologized in court stating that he never intended to hit a foreigner.
Before the sentence was read a public statement from Mrs. Diane Ashton, Stephen’s mother was read out
“Anyone who resorts to gun crime is a cowards and a danger to society. It was inevitable that someone would be killed or seriously injured that night when Ekkapan Kaewkla discharged his gun on a crowded public beach which was full of young men and women enjoying the New Year celebrations.
Ekkapan Kaewkla killed my son that night. Stephen was an innocent 22 year old young man who had a life of happiness and fulfillment ahead of him. Stephen’s death has had a huge impact on his family and the many friends who miss him dreadfully every day and we have to endure the grief of such a tragic loss for the rest of our lives. Stephen was vibrant, talented, hardworking and a respectable young man. He was everything that Ekkapan Kaewkla is not.”