As Thai police admitted that all DNA testing had failed to find a match in the investigation into the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller a young Scots musician and busker TODAY fled the island saying he believed the mafia were trying to kill him.

Convenience store

Sean McAnna, 26, from, Shotts, Lanarkshire, made the allegations on Facebook at 4am after he fled and took refuge in a 24 hour convenience store on the island and posted a picture he took of his alleged pursuers.

He also identified whom he believed was one of the killers.

And he asked for Sky Television to phone him. McAnna was quickly given consular advice and protected by friends until he caught a ferry off the island later in the day. His posts were taken down.

Sean McAnna later revealed how he slept all night in the jungle and then for a while around 7 am this morning under a snooker table in a bar.

In the early hours of the morning he had been drinking in a beach bar when he was accused by two Thais of being the killer he was allegedly the guitarist in a group of people singing on the beach on the morning of Hannah and David’s murders.

You have blood on your hands, they said adding that he should be strung up and hanged from a tree.  He fled the bar and took refuge in the convenience story pursed by the two men, he said. That’s when he took the picture.

McAnna with his smartphone

“They just said to me, ‘It was you who killed them. You’ve got two people’s deaths on your hands. We know it was you. You’re going to hang yourself tonight and we are going to watch you hang. You die tonight’.

“So I just ran. I just left and ran.”

“I genuinely thought that I was going to die. I genuinely thought that this was me dead.

“They wouldn’t have shot me, they would have taken me up into the hills to hang me and make it look like it was a suicide.

“I was so scared. I just didn’t want that to be it. I told my mum I loved her and that I would try to make it home.”

He said he did not really know if any of the two men were the killers, but they might have known who did it.

From a rock near where the bodies of David and Hannah were found he also earlier wrote a long message which could have come from Alex Garland’s ‘The Beach’ about a group of backpackers who think they have found paradise but instead found a nightmare.

“ It’s not the island I used to know….. But I know Koh Tao will continue to be the paradise island it always was. Especially now. 

“I’ve spoken to girls who are heart-broken about this, but have said that nothing will stop them living the free, island life. 

“ And fair play to them, this has been the first westerner’s killing in a decade. And will be the last, hopefully.

“It’s a life we know and will always attempt to strive for”.

In just a few minutes Koh Tao was no longer a paradise island for Sean McAnna. Now he has told Andy Lines of the Daily Mirror – ‘I’ll never go back’.

Conincidentally ‘The Beach’ a novel by Alex Garland, which became a backpackers bible and Hollywood film starring Leonardo di Caprio, stars a group of backpackers who find their paradise island in Thailand  – only to find it is run by gangsters and their lives are endangered.

Although McAnna has received consular advice he is reported to still be frightened and foreign reporters watched him leave on a ferry.

McAnna had previously been identified as the ‘guitar man’ in a group of people singing on the beach on the night of the murders whom, police wanted to identify/

There has always been a fear that if local mafia were involved police would be powerless to do anything.

But Thailand’s Premier General Prayuth Chan-ocha has promised no cover-up.

McAnna’s figure of one murder in ten years does not convey the real picture. The last foreigner to be murdered about ten years ago was a confrontational dive resort owner who upset the local system.

The Samui Archipelago is not exactly positioned in a sea of tranquility as even the Foreign Office points out in its travel advisory.

And a short term resident foreigner who had strived for the island life but left Koh Tao somewhat disillusioned to write a blog entitled ‘Koh Tao – The Murky Truth’ stating there were several killings..murders.

“After a few weeks on the island, we found out that Koh Tao has a dark underbelly in the form of locally powerful mafia-like families that own many of the businesses and make sure that they get the cream of the profits that tumble into Koh Tao. In the fairly short time we were there, several people were killed – that is, murdered. We even heard the crack of a gunshot on one occasion. 

“It seems that on this island you really don’t want to say the wrong thing about the family head or sell drugs without their permission. Even people that merely go there and open a shop or cafe that thrives can become a target and, allegedly, new businesses sometimes mysteriously burn down during the night.”

And on the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan – the scene for Thailand’s infamous ‘Full Moon’ Parties – an editorial in the Koh Phangan News  headed: ‘Koh Phangan – The Island of Natural Born Killers – listing a wide range of people who had been murdered there including foreigners.  Plenty reports of murders. No reports of trials except that for the fishermen who murdered and raped Katherine Horton on Koh Samui.

Most of the pirates who abused and murdered Vietnamese boat people in the 70’s are believed to have come from southern Thailand port of Songkhla and the Samui Archipelago.

A United Nations High Commission report into pirate attacks found that 349 had been attacked by pirates an average of three times each. 578 women had been raped; 228 women had been abducted; and 881 people were dead or missing.

Meanwhile a 28-year-old man is under arrest after was reported to police because he was living in a cave in neighbouring Laem Yai on the island of Ko Samui,

He had worked on tour boats to Koh Tao and was acting suspiciously, said police, and he was questioned overnight on Koh Tao but he had denied any connection to the murder.

The man, who worked on local speed-boats, was tested for drugs, having been described as a ‘yaa baa’ (methamphetamine)  user.  Police have also taken DNA samples. It is understand he is being held on drugs charges.

Yesterday police said they were concentrating on a Thai man and a migrant worker as the main suspects.

Below Sean McAnna singing ‘Paradise in the Sand’

COMMENT: Well now this investigation has come to a very interesting point. The entire British press corps is aware there is or are several ‘island mafias’ on Koh Tao – but of course will the Thai Police admit it. 

I do not think they can. This is a country in denial. Besides if there were, police would have eradicated them. Right?

Yes. Just as prostitution and living off immoral earning is illegal in Thailand the country does not officially admit it exists.

So far they have busy DNA testing  migrant, foreigners, (even Sean McAnna) and have promised to DNA test the whole island. 

However the Kirsty Jones case in Chiang Mai has already shown that they can get a perfect DNA profile of the killer and still not find him. 

The person against whom Sean has made the allegations, even down to the chasing bit, will deny everything however whoever took the picture was clearly hiding behind a counter.  

In the meantime here is an island denial I have edited out the names.

Still puzzles me why one of the most honest decent individuals on the island would chase McAnna to a local convenience store and then with his mate peer over the counter. Did they just want to buy a packet of cigarettes?

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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