In September 2004 a Thai policeman Sergeant Somchai Wisetsingh gunned down and murdered Briton Adam Lloyd, 24, and then driving a Volvo chased and ran over his girlfriend Vanessa Arscott, 23, on a road running alongside the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Western Thailand.
As she clung onto an electric pylon Sergeant Wisetsingh killed her execution-style with three bullets, one each to her head, throat and chest.
For over a month Wisetsingh, named twice as Kanchanaburi’s ‘Most Outstanding Policeman of the Year’, remained at liberty hiding in Burma. Then after contacting colleagues he was taken into custody. It is not clear whether his surrender was voluntary or whether he was handed over by soldiers of the Karen National Liberation Army which controlled the area where he was hiding.
Sergeant Wisetsingh was quietly given bail after the media uproar died down. His release set alarm bells ringing.
Would Wisetsingh be convicted in his own town where his influence was considerable greater than the three stripes on his uniform? Suddenly witnesses to the murder started clamming up.
Even the British owners of a local pub, where the couple had been on the night of her murder, refused to attend court as character witnesses for the young couples’ good and polite behaviour. ‘I would have to close my business,’ one said.
Andrew Drummond and colleague photographer Andy Chant were in regular touch with the families of both victims but in particularly with Vanessa’s parents. When they came to Thailand they ensured that the Graham, Joyce and Vanssa’s sister Alyssa heard the true stories from the witnesses who were scared to go court.
And Andrew Drummond’s reports for The Times and other newspapers ensured the voices of the witnesses were heard internationally.
The British Embassy also made sure that the parents’ fears were relayed to the Minister of Justice, The Ministry of Foreign Affaires and the office of the Attorney General.
As expected Sergeant Wisetsingh, a local playboy with a reputation for trying to hit on female tourists lied to the court. He said it was not him but a drugs informant called Mr. Ya. (Mr. Drug!)
Mr. Ya, he said, had seen Adam knock him to the ground and was taking revenge for the ‘loss of face’ on his behalf. But Wisetsingh did not know his informant’s real name, telephone number or address.
Sgt. Wisetsingh denied knowing or even talking to Vanessa, although a witness had claimed Vanessa came crying from the toilet after Wisetsingh followed her there.
Drummond knew Wisetsingh was lying. The last pictures on the young couple’s camera were two of Vanessa and Wisetsingh together, photographed by Adam.
After careful consideration Graham Arscott provided the photos for a report publish in the News of the World at the end of the case.
Thankfully the worst fears were not realised. The policeman was jailed for life.
* She was executed. Bang. Bang. Bang