BANGKOK (Sputnik) – The suspect in the murder of a Swiss tourist on the Thai island of Phuket, who was detained a day prior, has been charged with murder and robbery, local police announced on Sunday.
“Teerawat Thothip, a twenty-seven-year-old unemployed resident of Phuket Island, who was arrested yesterday and confessed during interrogation, was charged with murder and robbery, the suspect has been officially arrested by the Phuket provincial court,” Maj. Gen. Nanthadet Yoinuan, deputy chief of the regional police department, told a briefing.
Thailand police finally arrested thai natioanl Teerawat Thothip, 27, of Thalang district in Phuket and found guilty. No update on Myanmar man as of now.
— Min Ye Kyaw (@matthewcmli) August 7, 2021
He further noted that the man can face additional charges after further inquiries are complete.
The suspect confessed that he saw the victim, Nicole Sauvain-Weisskopf, the deputy protocol chief of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, at Ton Ao Yon waterfall on Phuket while she was swimming. He then killed her and stole 300 Thai baht ($9.8) from her backpack, the police said.
The body of the 57-year-old Swiss tourist was found on Thursday at the foot of the waterfall, a 15-minute walk from the hotel where she was staying.
After the preliminary examination, police officers and a forensic expert determined the cause of death as asphyxiation from forced drowning. When the body was found, the woman was wearing only a T-shirt and a light jacket, the rest of her clothes were on the ground nearby. The body lay face down with the head under water, the Bangkok Post newspaper reported on Friday, citing sources in the investigation.
The suspect was arrested Saturday, after the police tracked him down through CCTV footage from cameras installed on the road near the falls. During interrogation he confessed that he went to the waterfall to collect flowers for sale, but saw a European woman swimming and tried to rape her, the newspaper said referencing the investigation. The woman resisted and the suspect strangled her in the heat of the moment. It was not a premeditated murder, he told the police, the Bangkok Post revealed.
The fact of rape or attempted rape has not yet been confirmed by an expert examination, so the suspect has not yet been charged under the relevant articles of the Thai criminal code, the newspaper added.
Teerawat Thothip is a former Muay Thai professional boxer and has been charged with drug possession in 2020, according to the Bangkok Post.