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The families of young tourists who lost their lives in Koh Tao, all under suspicious circumstances, are fighting for justice after joining together in their grief.
The group came together after Pat Harrington, the mother of Ben Harrington who lost his life on the Koh Tao, dubbed Death Island, started a petition to ask the British government to look into suspicious deaths in Thailand.
Ben Harrington, 32, was killed during the ‘holiday of a lifetime’ on Koh Tao in 2012. The local police said his death was the result of him driving his motorbike into an electricity pylon. However Pat has never been satisfied with the police investigation and has spent years fighting for information from the Thai authorities about her son’s death, including submitting Freedom of Information requests to the Foreign and Commonwealth office. Pat has never understood why results of the
UK autopsy did not match the explanation into Ben’s death given by the Thai authorities and suspects he was mugged as his watch and wallet were never recovered.
The mother of Luke Miller has joined Pat in her quest to find out the truth about her son’s death. Luke, 26, was found dead in the swimming pool of the Sunset Bar in Koh Toa on January 8th 2016. The police tried to say his death was due to misadventure and suggest he dived head first into the pool, however there were no witnesses and the injuries to his body do not suggest this was the case. A British paramedic on the scene told the Samui Times that he did not buy the story either.
The family of Nick Pearson also have questions as to what happened to their son, who was found dead in the ocean on Sairee Beach on New Year’s Day 2014. Local police suggested he accidentally fell 50 feet to his death but injuries to his body do not suggest this was the case and his last known location, his bungalow, was located in an area that would make this explanation impossible.
The family of Christiana Annesley, 23, who died in Koh Tao in 2015 also have no faith in the police investigation into her death. The police said that her death was caused by her ingesting a mixture of prescription medicine and alcohol however her body was left in a temple for several days before a post-mortem and the last person to see her alive was not even contacted by the police. They have also joined with Pat to find answers.
Fed up with being fobbed off by shoddy police investigations and with little help from the Foreign Office who have no jurisdiction to investigates the deaths of British Citizens on Koh Tao the families have now joined together in their grief and will, on the 6th of March 2018, present Pat’s petition to Theresa May, the British Prime Minister at no. 10 Downing Street asking the UK government to investigate the suspicious deaths. The petition has over 14,000 signatures.
Koh Tao has become very well known for its disproportionate number of tourist deaths and none of the families of those who have lost their lives there have any faith in the local police reports and have been left with more questions than answers. They are all frustrated, stricken with grief and have decided, in their pain to join forces and fight back.
The island became notorious in the international press after the gruesome 2014 murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller who
were found slain on the beach. Two Burmese migrant workers were sentenced to death after being found guilty of the murders, but locals on Koh Tao and the surrounding islands as well as the international online community believe they are scapegoats and the real killers are local mafia figures, one of whom was arrested for the killings shortly before the leading police investigator was booted off the case and he was immediately exonerated by the new guy.
The same man who was arrested, Montriwat Tuwichian also just happens to own the bungalow where Christina was found dead.
Many in the expat community as well as many locals in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, the neighbouring islands to Koh Tao believe the
killings are linked, it is the mafia who are committing these crimes, or at least a gang involved with the mafia, and the whole thing has been covered up to protect the islands lucrative tourist industry. However they are all too scared to come forward and say anything for fear of the consequences. There has been no CCTV footage or witnesses to any of the deaths and more often than not the actual cause of death of the victims has been unable to be established in the UK due to the Thai handling, embalming and autopsy process in Thailand.
The families of the victims hope they can persuade the UK government to step in when a Brit dies overseas and ensure their bodies are returned unharmed to the UK so the actual cause of death can be established. They will also ask for better consular assistance for overseas deaths and sterner warnings to be issued as to tourist safety on Koh Tao, in light of the deaths of Ben Harrington, Nick Pearson, Luke Miller, Christiana Annesley, Hannah Witheridge and David Miller all from the UK in the last few years. As well as the British Deaths in the same period of time, Swiss national Hans Peter Suter went missing and washed up dead on the shore of the mainland, two other unnamed Caucasian bodes were also recovered. Also 29 year old Dimitri Povse was found hanging with his hands tied behind his back, Russian Valentina Novozhyonova, 23 went missing never to be seen again on the 15th of Feb 2017, nobody went looking for her until 3 weeks later when the Samui Times broke the story, Elise Dallamange, 30 from Belgium was found dead partially eaten by lizards, no explanation for her death has ever been given other than suspected suicide that her family strenuously refute. Dive instructor Jean Francois Louet, who had lived for many years on Koh Tao also went missing and was found dead in Surat Thani.