THE family of murdered British tourist Hannah Witheridge said they are “broken” by her death.
In a statement yesterday, they said they visited Bangkok earlier this week and have now returned to the UK with her body. Ms Witheridge, 23, and fellow Briton David Miller, 24, were found dead on the Thai island of Koh Tao last Monday.
In a statement, the devastated family said: “We can confirm that we have now returned to the UK with our beautiful Hannah. As a family, we feel enormous relief to have Hannah back at home where she belongs. We continue to work closely with officers to assist in the investigation and bring those responsible to justice.
“Our family is broken and require time to grieve in private – as do Hannah’s many friends.”
Police in Thailand said they are investigating new evidence suggesting that the murders may have been due to “sexual jealousy”. A spokesman for the Royal Thai Police said that the force was also looking into claims that the pair had a row with a Thai man in a bar.
Police colonel Kissana Phathanacharoen said: “We have discovered fresh evidence which could lead to a new suspect who may have had a relationship or one-night stand with Hannah or one of her friends or David the night before they were killed.
“We have asked the Metropolitan Police to go back and make inquiries of Hannah’s friends on this matter. The liaison officer here in Bangkok is working on getting that statement. The faster we get it, the faster we may be able to get the bad guy.
“No lines of inquiry can be ruled out and we believe these crimes could have been motivated by sexual jealousy. Police have been made aware of reports that Hannah and David had a fight in a bar with a Thai man before they were killed, but cannot confirm if they are true.”
Post-mortem examinations revealed that Ms Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, died from head wounds while Mr Miller, from Jersey, was killed by blows to the head and drowning. A bloodstained garden hoe, believed to be the murder weapon, was found nearby.
Thai police are offering a cash reward worth about £4,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the suspects.
Around 150 officers have been deployed on the island and senior police officials met Ms Witheridge’s family.
Police said yesterday that they were looking for more than one suspect following unconfirmed reports that the DNA of two Asian men had been found on Ms Witheridge’s body.
Two British brothers were questioned by police but later told they were free to return home. Christopher and James Ware were childhood friends of Mr Miller and had been speaking to officers but were never detained or declared to be suspects. They were given permission to fly back to Jersey.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s military ruler was forced to apologise for suggesting that foreign female visitors to his country’s beaches might be unsafe wearing bikinis.