Hannah Witheridge: Inquest opens as police search for three people believed to be involved in her murder

Library photo of Hemsby student Hannah Witheridge, 23, released by her family who said she was a lov

Library photo of Hemsby student Hannah Witheridge, 23, released by her family who said she was a loving young woman who "poured joy into the lives of all who knew her". - Credit: PA

The inquest into the death of a young woman from Hembsy opened in Norwich today following the announcement that police investigators in Thailand now believe three people were involved in her murder.

The body of British Student Hannah Witheridge, 23, who lived in Colchester, was found with severe head wounds next to David Miller, 24, on a beach on the island of Koh Tao on September 15.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Lieutenant General Panya Mamen, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 8, said: 'We're confident we have a very high chance of finding the suspects.'

Officers have collected 200 DNA samples from people on Koh Tao and a group of Thai footballers are the latest people to be questioned by police.

A spokesman for the Royal Thai Police confirmed that DNA samples were taken from 'more than eight' footballers - who reportedly threw a late-night party at the nightclub where the victims spent their final hours - and officers were awaiting the results.

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Speaking at the inquest, senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said Miss Witheridge had been indentified using DNA taken from her parents - Tony and Susan Witheridge.

Post-mortem examinations revealed that Ms Witheridge died from 'severe head wounds'.

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The inquest has been adjourned until January 6, 2015.

Meanwhile, David Miller's family said they have been 'overwhelmed' by support and added 'their hearts go out to the Witheridge family'.

Speaking ahead of Mr Miller's funeral on Friday, his family asked for privacy on the day of the memorial service.

They hope the service at Holy Trinity Church will be 'attended simply by Dave's many friends and his family'.

The statement, from Sue, Ian and Michael Miller, said: 'Our hearts go out to the Witheridge family who are also coming to terms with the sudden trauma of the equally senseless ending of their Hannah's life.

'Our thoughts are also with the Ware family and any other innocents that have been hurt by harassment and wrongful accusation.

'We have been overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of support provided to us by so many here in Jersey and also by people far away.

'We were also particularly touched by the vigil and prayers held by good people on Koh Tao.'

They spoke of being 'deeply traumatised' by 'some wild and irresponsible speculation of the circumstances surrounding' Mr Miller's and would not comment on the investigation except to appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

'We urge anyone who can help these investigations to please assist the Royal Thai Police in solving these murders and bringing the culprits to justice.

'We are confident that these people will be caught now or later.'

They said: 'Now we would like to concentrate all our thoughts on our lovely David. Taken from us before his time and before he could blossom to his full potential.

'He was our David. He was very special. He brightened up the world and we miss him terribly.'

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