Prisoners in a notorious jail in Laos are to be quizzed over their relationship with a pregnant British woman accused of drug smuggling as it emerged that a fellow British prisoner could be the father.
The trial of Samantha Orobator, from south London, will be delayed until the father is identified, it emerged today.
Orobator denied this week, via her mother Jane Orobator, that she was raped or had sex with a prison guard. But Lao authorities said they would investigate her pregnancy, claiming she had lied to them about it.
And they will be quizzing other prisoners, including one Briton serving a life sentence for drugs trafficking.
Lao officials claim there is no association between male and female prisoners at Phongthong Prison in Laos. But a flimsy mesh is all that separates the woman from the men in the 'medieval' jail, where stocks are still used as a punishment.
Police Lt.Col. Khamphonh Sihaphancha, drug control department director of the Ministry of Public Security, said: 'Everything will be postponed until everything is made clear. We will solve this case as soon as possible.'
He claimed that 20-year-old Orobator had lied to the authorities by saying she was sick and pregnant by a boyfriend in England last September.
When authorities took for her checks in March she was found to be pregnant; on April 4th was found to be 17 weeks pregnant.
Ms Orobator, 20, from Camberwell, was arrested at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane on August 5, 2008, on her way to Sydney , Australia, allegedly with 680 grammes of heroin, contained in 68 capsules, hidden in different parts of her body.
The 'prime suspect' in the hunt for the child's father is a Briton, John Albert Watson, 47, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, serving a life sentence for trafficking in methamphetamines.
John Watson on the Foreign Prisoners Support Service website
John Watson is reported by other inmates as being the prisoner closest to Samantha after she was admitted to the prison last August.
Our challenge is to continue our search into the matter,' Lt. Col. Khamphonh said.
The Evening Standard has spoken exclusively to John Watson in Phonthong Prison. He has categorically denied the charge. 'It's impossible. How could I get to her. It must be an immaculate conception,' he said.
Mesh fence separating male and female prisoners in Phonthong
He said he could not understand an alleged statement by his mother back home that she was looking forward to being a grand-mother again. Pat Watson reportedly said John was ecstatic over the news. The couple had been freely allowed to associate during the day in Phonthong Prison.
John Watson, has two children by a previous girlfriend. But they have been estranged since his arrest nearly four years ago, also at Wattay airport.
Laos authorities appear to have not totally ruled out the fact that she could have impregnated herself with another man's sperm. She had had a syringe amongst her personal possessions.
When Laos authorities carry out investigations in Phonthong Prison, they usually get results. But in any event if they do not get a confession they will probably hold her in Laos until they get an answer, even though the authorities have agreed to send he back to Britain to serve her sentence if convicted, which appears to be a foregone conclusion.
Once the baby is born they can just conduct tests. For the father they believe is captive