Welsh police and the mother of Kirsty Jones who was murdered on this day in Chiang Mai 12 years ago made one more appeal today offering £10,000 (approx. 500,000 baht) for information leading to the killer.
It is Dyfed Powys Police’s most important unsolved crime. Now with the Department of Special Investigations in charge and the offer of cash they are hoping that someone will step forward with information on Kirsty’s brutal killer.
In an emotional statement in Bangkok, having given a similar press conference in Chiang Mai, Mrs. Sue Jones said:
“I am convinced there is someone who has information that could lead to the arrest of the person who took away my daughter’s life.
“With the passing of time people’s loyalties change and relationships end which may remove any previous reluctance to come forward. Something small which may seem irrelevant at the time could now be significant and add news pieces to the jig-saw that the police already have.”
A press conference at the Plaza Athenae Hotel in Bangkok was attended by a small smattering of British media organisations – including the BBC, HTV Wales and the Sunday Times. The more vital conference for the Thai media to broadcast the reward was held in Chiang Mai on Thursday.
Kirsty Jones was 23 when she was brutally murdered and raped in the Aree Guest House in Chiang Mai in August 2000.
A whole series of suspects, including foreign backpackers, the guest house’s Thai manager, and the guest house owner himself Andy Gill, were rounded up. In the early stages the crime scene was trampled over by police.
Andrew Gill the public school owner of the Aree Guest House still remains the prime suspect of the Commissioner of Region 5 Royal Thai Police – says Chiangmai City News
Police falsely arrested a Karen hill tribe guide whose DNA was close to but not the same as the killer’s, then beat tortured him in an attempt to extract a confession.
They even at one stage suggested Kirsty was probably a willing participant in sex, finally closing the case claiming they believed Gill was the killer and the sperm found at the scene must have been purchased in Chiang Mai (from a lady boy or male prostitute or tuk tuk driver).
Colonel Suthep Dejraksa , the lead detective said at the time “the foreign murderer must have bought some Thai sperm.”
Those conclusions were intitially discredited by Chief Superintendent Steve Wilkins of Dyfed Powys police, then by Dr. Thanin Bhoopat, Chairman of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Chiang Mai University Hospital, again by Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Hughson and have this week again been denounced by Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations, who have taken over the enquiry from Chiang Mai Police.
Today, Detective Superintendent Andy John, of Dyfed Powys Police – the third Superintendent on Wales’s most important unsolved murder case – again specified that the DNA profile they had of the killer was Asian.
Andy Gill who had been re-interviewed in Britain with the co-operation of Scottish Police had been ruled out as a suspect. So too had other suspects including a Chiang Mai academic who had been referred to in a video put up by an elderly Australian former Chiang Mai resident.
Now Dyfed-Powys Police are hoping the reward will perhaps help jog some memories. It is not beyond the realms of imagination that there has been a conspiracy of silence.
Former Colonel Suthep Dejraksa is now Lieutenant General Suthep Dejraksa and Commissioner of the 5th Region Police comprising most of Northern Thailand and still does not appear to have changed his mind.
The Chiang Mai City News reported yesterday that only two months ago he said that that he still stood behind his theory that the guesthouse’s English owner, Andrew Gill, was the culprit and that the Asian DNA was planted.
In the light of that statement Superintendent John was asked whether he still had confidence in the Chiang Mai Police. Detective Superintendent John said he was very happy and pleased with Thai Police co-operation.
The DSI are building on a crime-DNA database. One hope is that this will eventually reveal the killer – but 12 years after the event, with all efforts by Chiang Mai Police, and the DSI, despite Dyfed-Powys Police optimism, for many its hard to see any resolution in sight.
N.B: Regrets for not carrying a more newsy report. But the reward has already been published not only yesterday, and this morning, but even before Dyfed-Powys police arrived in Thailand. However I wish to keep this case in the public eye and also inform for those who were not around at the time. The press conference today was however a little bit rigid in so far as little deviation was allowed from the ‘reward’ agenda.