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The murder trial of Stephen Ashton resumed on April 28th at the Samui Provincial Court

Stephen Ashton was killed at the New Years Eve Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach in 2013 when a Thai man opened fire at a bar in the early hours of the morning, after being shot in the torso he was rushed to Bandon International Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

City trader Stephen Ashton was 22 years old and was enjoying the party and dancing when he was caught in the crossfire following fight between two rival groups of Thai men. He was on a gap year with friends at the time of the incident.

stephen AshtonWhen the fight broke out one of the groups fled the bar, but one man turned back and fired a gun, after party revelers tried frantically to revive him he was transported to the hospital.

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. He was charged with killing Stephen Ashton and for carrying a weapon. He was remanded in custody.

Mr Ashton’s family travelled to Thailand to identify his body and arrange for his repatriation to the UK. His Mum Widow Diane Ashton, 48 has told of her anger and heartbreak. She was on a skiing holiday when she was told son Stephen, 22, had been killed. The solicitor, whose only close family member now is daughter Emily, 20, said: “We are devastated. “I do have feelings of anger as well as mourning the loss that he’s not coming back, which is the hardest thing to accept. “We’ve had a really bad time, as I lost my husband a year ago. We are struggling to move on with our lives at a very difficult time.” Former City trader Stephen was on the trip of a lifetime to help him get over the death of dad John, 50, from cancer.

stephen ashton 1When the case resumed on the 28th of April Stephen’s uncle, a translator, a family friend and a representative from the British embassy were in attendance. It was expected that the defendant would produce a witness for the defense, but as in previous hearing no witness turned up. Defendant Ekkapan Kaewkla sat quietly to the right hand side of the court in shackles and made no comment when the judge asked him to return on the 19th of June at 9-30am for the verdict and sentencing, it is unclear at this time which charges he will be found guilty of.

The hearing on the 19th of June will be open to the public and Stephen’s family would be grateful for any support from the local community who are welcome to attend the hearing. Thai speakers/spouses are welcome. Dress as per ‘Govt building’ carrying photo ID. A bottle of water is advised as proceedings are often lengthy.

For more information on lending your support at the trial please contact editor@samuitimes.com

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