Fisherman Jailed For Murder Of British Yachtsman – Thailand

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From Andrew Drummond, Bangkok, Saturday November 28 2009
Pictures: Andrew Chant

Two young Burmese fishermen have been sentenced to 25 years in prison each for the murder of 64-yr-old British yachtsman Malcolm Robertson off the coast of Thailand earlier this year.
At statement from the British Embassy in Bangkok today confirmed that Eksian Warapon, 19, and a shipmate known only as Aow, 18, were sentenced at Satun Provincial court earlier in the week.
A third Burmese, a juvenile known as Ko, aged 17, was sentenced to be held in custody until he reaches the age of 24, said Daniel Painter, Second Secretary at the British Embassy in Bangkok.
The two elder Burmese were initially sentenced to fifty years but their sentence was cut in half because they pleaded guilty and were remorseful.
The Burmese had been stranded on a small island off  Koh Adang in the Tarutao National Marine Park off the south coast of Thailand in March this year after jumping ship from a Thai fishing boat when Malcolm Robertson sailed in and moored offshore.
They were initially referred to as pirates but later it became clear that the young Burmese had been sold as slave labour to a Thai fishing fleet and had been in and out of immigration detention centres in Thailand.
 Before the attack they had spent eight months and sea without being allowed ashore with their Thai colleagues. They swum to the island and hopefully freedom.
But the island had no food and very little water.
Eksian Warapon, 19, told the court that all three were starving when the Robertson’s yacht ‘Mr. Bean’ anchored offshore,
‘The boat was our only way of escape. We did not want to harm anyone but the foreigner put up a fight,’ said Eksian..
They had swum to the boat and climbed aboard but were surprised by Mr.Robertson who started shouting at them.
Eksian admitted to being the person who bludgeoned Mr. Robertson with a hammer he had found on the 44 ft yacht, after the others tied up Linda Robertson, 57, naked in a cabin.
Later Mrs. Robertson, who with her husband owned a chain of cafes in Sussex,  made a courageous escape by freeing herself, weighing anchor and sailing away while her captors were mucking trying to get Mr. Bean’s ‘troublesome’  dingy to work.
The three men had agreed to leave the boat and had packed a dinghy with stolen property.including computers, mobile phones,
She said afterwards ‘But they had only got thirty yards when the engine began to splutter as I knew it would,

‘They turned and started coming back, so I rushed to pull up the anchor, which was quite easy, because they had only let out thirty yards.  Then I put the boat into full throttle and headed out to see leaving them behind. 
‘Then I saw them head to shore and I knew my ordeal was over and I was safe. I cannot believe I survived.’

Linda Robertson said today at her home St. Leonards, Sussex: ‘The juvenile showed a lot of remorse so I think his light sentence is justified. I am happy with the verdict. I am relieved they did not get the death penalty.

Twenty five years in a Thai jail will be hell on earth. I would not wish any more on them. It’s another step towards getting over Malcolm’s death’..
A formal inquest will be held Sussex next month.

About the Author

Andrew Drummond

Andrew Drummond is a British independent journalist and occasional television documentary maker. He is a former Fleet Street, London, journalist having worked at the Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, News of the World, Observer and The Times.

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