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Thai police want to talk to British man over backpackers' murders

Police are searching for a British man in connection with the gruesome murders of two young backpackers.

The semi-naked bodies of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were found at a beach on Koh Tao island on Monday morning. They had suffered horrific injuries.

A garden hoe, also soaked in blood, is thought to be the murder weapon. It had been dumped next to the victims’ clothes.

It is also believed that Witheridge could have been raped before she was killed. Witheridge, who was travelling with three female friends, had been on the island for only three days.

Miller, from Jersey, appears to have been travelling across Asia and Australia before he made his way to the island.

The island was in shut down as authorities searched for a man who had been seen with the pair.

Islanders had blockaded several piers to stop boats and ferries leaving until authorities arrived from the mainland.

But Thai police, who have identified the unnamed person as their chief suspect, fear he may have fled the island by hopping on an overnight ferry to Bangkok before the grim discovery was made, Mirror newspaper reported.

Police Colonel Songsak said: “We wish to interview one of the man’s friends but we cannot give out his details. We need to talk to him as a matter of urgency.”

Officers were still trawling through hours of CCTV footage from local bars and restaurants.

Police believe the three did not know each other when they first arrived on the island separately at the end of August but could have become friends later on.

Local officers said they met while staying at the same seaside hotel and arranged to go out together on Sunday night.

Police Major General Kiattipong Khawsamang added: “CCTV footage shows that they went out to a bar and all left together after 1am.”

Detectives think that the three then attended a party before the killings took place.

Describing the horrific injuries sustained, Colonel Prachum Ruangthong said: “The man was chopped in the back and on the side of his head, while the woman was chopped in her face. It’s very gruesome.”

Sources: Mirror, Facebook, BBC News

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