Ben Greig and Richie Haskell, both marine engineers from Surfers’ Paradise, had been held as suspects but were told overnight they were free to leave Thailand. Police have since charged two Thai fisherman with killing student Katherine Horton, 21, of Cardiff in Wales, late on New Year’s Day.
Greig and Haskell, who had struck up a friendship with Ms Horton and her friend Ruth Adams on Samui, were arrested with other suspects after her body was found floating in Lami Bay on January 2. She had been severely beaten around the head and body.
The Australians were examined for scratch marks and Greig was questioned for several hours before giving blood for DNA analysis. At one stage police accused him outright of lying and he said he had feared he was going to be wrongly accused of murder.
“I really thought I was going to a Bangkok prison,’’ Greig said. But after a harrowing series of interrogations, Thai police could find no evidence to link the Australians to the crime, and eliminated them from their list of suspects.
Over a thousand Australian tourists are among the 20,000 foreigners spending a post-Christmas holidays on Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. Three foreign tourists have been raped on the island since October 1. The other two victims were a 26-year-old British woman who was attacked on October 20, and a 12-year-old Swedish girl last Wednesday.