Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009
Sailing friends and the family of yachtsman Malcolm Robertson will on Thursday hold a memorial service on the Malaysian island of Langkawi  after his body was found off Thailand late on Monday.

Mrs.  Linda Robertson, 57, said she hoped that the Thai authorities would press a murder charge.

 Speaking in Satun, South Thailand , where three Burmese migrant labourers are being held in custody, she added: 'I believe only one of them is guilty of murder, but I do not want him to be sentenced to death.  Apart from that I am in a foreign country and will leave it up to the Thai justice system.'

The body of Mr. Robertson, 64, from St. Leonards, East Sussex, was formally identified at sea aboard a Thai fishing boat, by his son Dean,  as the family were concerned that Thai newspapers would publish  'inappropriate' photographs.

The body had been found off Lipe Island, in Tarutao Marine Park, off South Thailand.  The Robertson's had moored off Butang Island nearby when they were boarded by the three Burmese who had jumped a Thai 'slave ship'.

Arrangements have already been made to fly Mr. Robertson's boy home to Britain.

The Robertson's have berthed their yacht Mr. Bean on Langkawi for the last three years, returning to sail during the British winter.

It is expected that Eksian Warapong, 19, will be charged with murder and the two other Burmese, Aow, 18, and Koo, 16, will continue to faces charges of kidnap, assault and theft.

Last week Warapon confessed to the murder saying he bludgeoned Mr. Robertson to death with a hammer after he put up a fight.

The three Burmese said that they had been sold to an agent by Thai police from a Thai immigration detention centre for just ?100 each and put to work on the Thai fishing trawler Chai 6 based out of Phuket.

The youngest Koo had been on the ship for eight months without pay and without being allowed ashore.

They jumped ship onto an uninhabited desert island in the Butang Island group. They had not eaten for three days when the Robertson's arrived yacht arrived and moored offshore.

They said they just planned to take the yacht's tender and some food.


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