Murder Trial Enters Second Day

Judges in the trial of two men charged with murdering Hemsby woman Hannah Witheridge will have to decide today whether to have key DNA evidence re-tested.

It is the second day of the hearing in Koh Samui.

The prosecution claims DNA found at the scene, on Hannah's body and on a cigarette found nearby, matches the DNA profile of the two men charged.

However, the defence says it has new evidence from UK authorities that means it is vital that the DNA is re-tested. Judges hearing the case will now have to decide.

Sky's Jonathan Samuels, who has been in court, said: "A senior police officer has been in court, he has been questioned about what is left of that DNA, what samples still remain, where they are and how possible it would be to have them re-tested."

The body of 23 year-old Hannah was found on a beach on the island of Koh Toa in September last year, along with that of fellow British backpacker 24 year-old David Miller from Jersey.

They had both suffered head injuries.

Two men - Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 21-year-old bar workers from Burma - have been charged with conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to rape and robbery.

They had initially confessed but then retracted their statements amid claims they had been tortured into making them.

Yesterday, the trial heard evidence from the first police officer on the scene and the doctor who examined Hannah's body.

The police officer, Lieutenant Jakrapan Kaewkao, said: "I found a man's body lying on the beach with seawater lapping his body

"Then I found the woman's body behind the rocks.''

He added that the bodies, both of which were mostly unclothed, were several yards apart and said Ms Witheridge's bore signs of physical assault.

He also said the rocks were spotted with blood.

Earlier in the dayu, as he walked into the courtroom defence lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat said he hoped the trial would be a just one.

"We hope the truth will be revealed,'' he said.

"We hope the mechanism of justice in Thailand ... will have the same standards of international countries.''

Hannah's family have flown out to Thailand for the trial.

Verdicts are not expected until October.

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