Family Pay Tribute To Murdered Essex Student

16 September 2014, 14:00 | Updated: 16 September 2014, 14:23

The family of Essex University student Hannah Witheridge, who was murdered in Thailand, have paid tribute to her, describing her as "a beautiful, intelligent and loving young woman".

The 23 year old was discovered semi-naked on a beach in the divers' paradise of Koh Tao on Monday, along with 24 year old David Miller from Jersey.

A bloodstained hoe, believed to be the murder weapon, was found nearby.

Police have released still images from CCTV cameras in the area, one of which shows what police said were the two victims walking together hand-in-hand.

Her family have released the following statement:

"Hannah was a beautiful, intelligent, loving young woman who poured joy into the lives of all who knew her. She was selfless and caring and made each and every day that little bit more wonderful. Our family are utterly devastated and shocked by what has happened to our beautiful Hannah. To lose her in the way that we have is beyond comprehension. We are heartbroken and no words can possibly describe how we feel. As such, we would be extremely grateful to be left in peace while we come to terms with our loss.”

Miss Witheridge was about to start the second year of her masters degree in Speech and Language Therapy at the University of Essex.

It has released the following statement:

The University community expresses its sincere condolences to Hannah’s family and friends.

Personal Tutor Teresa Eade and Course Leader Dr Wayne Wilson said: “Hannah was a very strong student who had successfully completed the first year of her Masters. She was quiet, reflective, hardworking and resourceful. She was destined to make an impact in her chosen career in speech and language therapy. She was also someone who had lots of interests outside her studies – she loved to travel and enjoyed horse riding.

“Respected by our staff team and her fellow students, she had developed a strong friendship group both within and outside her course. She was part of a small close-knit group of students who work together and support each other on a highly intensive two year programme. She will be deeply missed by everyone who knew her.”

Defence minister Prawit Wongsuwan said police hoped "to make an arrest as soon as possible."