From ANDREW DRUMMOND, Bangkok,
September 20 2010
Link to CBC Calgary
A Thai policeman who gunned down two Canadian backpackers in northern Thailand has killed again.
Police Sergeant Uthai Dechawiwat, 39,(left) who killed 25-yr-old backpacker Leo Del Pinto and seriously injured his companion Carly Reisig, has now been accused of clubbing his pregnant teenage bride to death.
The latest incident also happened in the small picturesque northern Thai town of Pai in Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province where the Canadians were gunned down n January 2008.
A Thai police spokesman confirmed today that Sergeant Dechawiwat was being held for the murder of Wanta Dechawiwat at the police married quarters in Pai on Saturday last week.
He had only been married to his 18-yr-old bride for two weeks. She was reported to be four months pregnant.
‘She had been hit about the head with a piece of wood. Neighbours heard an argument at about the time of the incidident. Wants Dechawiwat’s body was found by Sergeant Uthai’s 10 year old daughter from his previous marriage.’
Police Sergeant Dechachiwat fled the scene just as he did in 2008. But he was later admitted to hospital after crashing his car into a tree and subsequently arrested.
Leo Del Pinto
The Department of Special Investigations was put in charge of the original murder investigation of Leo Del Pinto after local police tried to interfere with the investigation and concoct a story that the two tourists had attacked the Sergeant and that he had acted only in self defence.
He claimed he shot upwards at Del Pinto as the young Canadian attacked him knocking him to the ground. The Thai National Human Rights Commission conducted its own investigation and found its own evidence conflicted completely with local police.
Tests conducted by Thailand’s Forensic Pathologist Dr. Porthip Rojanasund showed that the Sergeant was standing over Del Pinto when he shot him in the head.
Del Pinto was shot three times. Reisig was shot in her side but later made a full recovery and testified before returning to Canada.
Del Pinto, from Calgary, had gone to the aid of Canadian Carly Reisig, from Chilliwack, B.C., after Uthai had pulled a gun on her when she was having a row in the street with her Thai boyfriend.
Since 2008, despite concern expressed by the Canadian government , attempts to proceed with the trial of Uthai on charges of murder and attempted murder have been thwarted for a number of reasons.
Sergeant Uthai was only detained in custody for a brief period and was subsequently released and returned to normal duties.
Ross Fortune, a lawyer and family friend of the Del Pintos said from Calgary today: ‘This is shocking news. We only heard last month that Uthai had been interfering with the main witnesses saying they were betraying Thailand by giving evidence against him.
‘The witnesses fled. But have been found again by the DSI (Department of Special Investigations) and they say they will still testify.’
Dr. Surasee Kosolnavin, one of the Human Rights Commissioners last year laid a complaint against intereference by local police into the investigation of Dechawiwat.
Colonel Sombat Panya of Pai police approaching witnesses outside court