Burmese men confess to killing British tourists on Koh Tao, Thai police say

Story highlights

Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were discovered early on September 15

They were partially undressed with severe injuries to their heads

Police: Two Burmese men admitted to murders, raping Witheridge

DNA samples taken from the couple match those of two suspects, police say

CNN  — 

Police in Thailand say two Burmese men have confessed to the murder of two British tourists on a popular resort island last month.

The bodies of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were discovered early on September 15 on a beach on Koh Tao, a small southern island in Thailand. They were partially undressed with severe injuries to their heads. A hoe with blood on it was found close by, police said.

The pair, both in their early 20s, were last seen at bar on the island hanging out with friends.

An autopsy revealed both victims had been hit by a hard object, according to Maj. Gen. Pornchai Suteerakhun, the head of the Police Hospital’s Institute of Forensic Medicine.

Miller was hit and had scratches on his back, in addition to having water in his lungs consistent with drowning, an autopsy showed. Witheridge was hit several times on her head and face and her body had evidence of sexual intercourse, according to her autopsy.

DNA match

On Friday, Police Commissioner Gen. Somyot Poompanmuang told CNN that DNA in semen taken from Witheridge matched samples taken from the two men.

“The DNA matching result is out already and they matched with DNA found on the female victim,” he said, adding that the men admitted to raping Witheridge.

He said DNA samples taken from cigarette butts found near the bodies also matched those of the two suspects. The men, who haven’t been named, have been in custody since October 1, police said.

Somyot said the two men told police that they became aroused after spotting the couple and moved in to attack them. They said they hit Miller on the back of the head, then raped Witheridge before hitting her in the face several times.

Somyot said the two Burmese suspects would reenact the incident for police on Koh Tao later Friday.

The deaths have shaken residents on the idyllic island, which takes up only 21 square kilometers (8 square miles) amid bright blue waters in the Gulf of Thailand. Authorities said it was the first homicide case on Koh Tao in at least eight years.

The island is popular among tourists for its diving locations, white sand beaches and vibrant nightlife.