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Thai Police act like the Cuckoo Bird over Koh Tao “Death Island” Murders
By Ian Yarwood (Australian lawyer)
15 September 2017 marks the third anniversary of the brutal murders of British backpackers Hannah Witheridge (23) and David Miller (24) on Koh Tao in Thailand.
The most infamous species of cuckoo are “brood parasites” that lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. When the young cuckoo hatches it pushes the host birds’ eggs out of the nest, which then fall to the ground and perish. The host birds then energetically feed the young cuckoo, the murderer of their own offspring.
By way of analogy one can think of the host birds’ eggs as the true eggs or the truth and the cuckoo’s eggs as fake eggs or the lie. The Thai police planted a fake egg in the minds of the Miller family and in the minds of the lazier journalists within the British media. The fake egg duly hatched and the cuckoo chick, the lie pushed out the truth.
Fostering the lie
The Miller family then duly went to work fostering the lie. In highly dramatic fashion David Miller’s brother, Michael gave an astonishing address to a media pack. This occurred on the steps of the Samui Provincial Court on Christmas Eve 2015, following the convictions of Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo.
The address did include a few very sensible comments such as “You would have liked Dave” and “Dave always stood up for justice”. However, with the greatest respect to Michael, the balance of the speech consisted of opinions that were complete rubbish, unsupported by any reliable evidence. On behalf of the Miller family, Michael expressed strong support for the convictions and for the Thai police but was scathing of the two young Burmese defendants, whom most observers recognized as mere scapegoats.
Michael’s address was about as disastrous an address as could be made on the steps of a courthouse. In the end, it was cut short by the howls of the condemned men’s mothers and their appearance from the front of the building. In the circumstances, the media pack did not have an opportunity to question Michael on how he formed his controversial opinions.
The damage was done though. Michael’s highly controversial words were printed and reprinted by many lazy British journalists who often went to little effort to analyse or discuss the validity or otherwise of his opinions. Too often Michael’s misconceived opinions were published by lazy elements of the mainstream media. That meant that the truth and better conceived opinions were pushed out of those articles.
The Miller family and large elements of the British media, the lazy elements, fed the lie as the Thai police and Koh Tao mafia gloated while much of their work in fostering deception was being done for them.
To be fair on the Miller family, I have always acknowledged that the decision of the defence team not to call international DNA expert Jane Taupin to give evidence would give rise to the inference that her evidence would not have helped the defendants. In February 2016 I wrote:
“I submit that Michael Miller’s statement is logical and reasonable but only if based in part on: assumptions that the Thai police are honest and competent and the Thai defence lawyers were prepared; and upon the inference that Jane Taupin could not help the defendants. Once those assumptions and that inference are removed the statement ceases to appear so logical and reasonable.” https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-independently-investigate-the-horrific-murders-of-hannah-witheridge-and-david-miller/u/15385598
Planting the lie
Prior to the trial, the Thai police announced that they found cigarette butts on Sairee Beach bearing DNA from Hannah and two unknown individuals, suggesting that Hannah had been smoking with those individuals. The smoke and mirrors show was starting.
Later the Thai police announced that the DNA of the unknown persons on the cigarette butts matched the DNA recovered from Hannah’s body. If all that is true (a HUGE IF) then once the smokers are found then the rapists (and presumable killers) will be identified too. Simple right??
Later the police released CCTV footage of the two defendants and their friend Maung Maung on a motorbike near Sairee Beach and the police reveal (correctly) that the defendants had in fact been playing guitar and smoking on Sairee Beach on the evening of 14 September 2014.
Some think this was wonderful police work but it was just a smoke and mirrors show. Some people naively believed that the Thai police were duly joining the dots and were on the way to catching the killers following a careful step by step process.
Next thing we learned, the defendants had confessed and the DNA from them was announced as being a “100% match” with that obtained from a mixed semen sample from Hannah’s body. GAME OVER, right??
In some people’s minds it was “game over.” Once their minds were made up it was difficult to convince them they had been fooled.
At the trial of course the Thai police evidence crumbled, at least in the eyes of reasonable observers. Those much touted cigarette butts formed no part of the prosecution case. At this stage it was open to draw the inference that the police lied about a match between DNA recovered from cigarette butts and Hannah’s body.
In addition, and most importantly, there was no original mixed semen sample that could be independently tested. What a joke. The notoriously dishonest Thai police essentially said to the court and to the world “Trust us.” What a joke.
Some might argue that following the orders of August 2017 made in the High Court in London against the National Crime Agency that even the UK police fed the lie at taxpayer expense – but that is a whole new story.
Subsequent deaths on Koh Tao and more deception
Since the murders of Hannah and David there have been at least nine further deaths of Western tourists on Koh Tao that occurred in mysterious circumstances or were caused by negligent Thai boat drivers:
Belgian Tourist * BEL (26) 05/10/2014
Hans peter Suter SUI (44) Nov 2014
Silje Mathisen NOR (22) 23/12/2014
Dimitri Povse FRA (29) 01/01/2015
Christina Annesley UK (23) 21/01/2015
Luke Miller UK (26) 08/01/2016
Valentina Novozhenova RUS (23) 15/02/2017
Shelly Bot CAN (50) 16/02/2017
Elise Dallemagne BEL (30) April 2017
In almost all of those nine cases, the Thai authorities have attempted to mislead the world on the circumstances in which the tourists met their fate. They have used the mainstream media, internet trolls and Koh Tao expats to help foster their lies, just as the host birds foster the chicks of the parasitic cuckoo.