PHUKET – August 8, 2012 [PDN]; At 2 p.m., the Phuket court read the judgment for red case number 3300/2555, where the prosecutors recommended execution for the two confessed killers, Mr. Surasak Suwanchot, 26, and Mr. Surin Tasthong, 37.
However, because the defendants confessed to their crimes, the court instead sentenced them to life in prison. The men seemed outwardly unfazed by their sentencing, and smiled for a news photograph afterward.
The men were charged with the June 20 fatal stabbing of Mrs. Michelle Elizabeth Smith, a Perth travel agent. They tried to to steal her handbag while she was walking along a street. She resisted and was stabbed in the heart.
The incident occurred at Kata Noi road, Tambon Karon, Amphur Muang, Phuket province. The Chalong police arrested arrest the two defendants several days later, aided by CCTV footage that helped identify the suspects.
The Phuket provincial court came to its judgment after spending two days in August 6 and 7 to hear testimony from five witnesses.
Mr. Larry Cunningham, Consul of Australia in Phuket province, commended the Thai police and Thai court for proceeding swiftly to judgment of the case. He said this is the first severely tragic incident happening to Australian tourists visiting Phuket, and he hoped this would be the last time.
Thai police have arrested two suspects wanted for the murder of Australian women and wounding her traveling companion in Phuket on Wednesday last week. More CCTV units urgently needed on Phuket Island.