"I WAS AIMING AT SOMEONE ELSE!"
From Andrew Drummond, Koh Phangan, Thailand
The man accused of shooting 22-year-old Stephen Ashton at a New Year party on the Thai island of Koh Phangan apologised in court today and said he never meant to hit a foreigner.
Ekkapan Kaewkla, 26, told a court in the neighbouring larger island of Koh Samui that it was a mistake.
“I was aiming at someone else but the foreigner got in the way.”
He already had his finger pressured on the trigger.
Kaewkla was remanded in custody to prison in Koh Samui for 12 days. It is not clear when the full case will be heard. But under Thai law the trial should begin within 84 days.
Even if the accused pleads guilty the court will have to hear the testimony of all the witnesses.
If there are foreign witnesses and police have interviewed foreigners they would need to testify before leaving the country.
The court has not accepted a plea from him for charges which police said would be manslaughter and illegal possession of a gun.
Kaewkla handcuffed said ‘Sorry’ to the media and other foreigners in the court.
Stephen Ashton’s family earlier issued statement saying that they were devastated that he should be shot as an innocent bystander.
The Foreign Office has warned Britons to be especially careful in the Samui Archipelego. This follows regular reports of rapes, stabbings and the shooting of not only Ashton but a 28-year-old Briton on Koh Phangan last August. He was hit in the leg and survived.