Update: Great Yarmouth woman, 23, murdered on Thai beach named as police search for British suspect
- Credit: SUPPLIED
A 23-year-old woman from the Great Yarmouth area who was murdered in a bloody attack on a Thai beach has been named.
Two British tourists found dead on the small island of Koh Tao in the early hours of this morning have been named as Hannah Witheridge, 23, from the Yarmouth area and David Miller, 24, from Jersey.
According to local reports, the pair were found on a beach and had suffered head wounds. A blood-stained garden hoe, believed to be the murder weapon, was lying nearby.
Police on the island, who described the scene as 'very gruesome', are now searching for a British suspect, who was friends with Mr Miller.
The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) could not confirm the identity of the victims but are understood to be in contact with next of kin.
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An FCO spokesman said: 'We are aware of the death of two British nationals on 15 September on the island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand.
'The Embassy is urgently seeking information from the local authorities.
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'Consular staff stand ready to provide assistance to friends and family at this sad time.'
The FCO added that the consul from Bangkok is travelling to Koh Tao as soon as possible.
Earlier today, local Thai police chief Major General Kiattipong Khawsamang said officers were checking CCTV footage from nearby restaurants and hotels in a bid to find the attacker. It was reported that boats had been being stopped from leaving the island but the travel ban was later lifted.
Maj Gen Khawsamang said initial investigations suggested the pair had travelled separately to Koh Tao and met three days ago while staying at the same hotel.
'They went out to a bar and left together after 1am, according to CCTV footage,' he said.
'We don't know who the suspect might be yet, but we have talked to different witnesses who might lead us to some clues.'
He added that Miss Witheridge had been travelling with three other friends.
It is believed that she and Mr Miller were among 50 or so tourists who attended a party on the beach the night before.
Koh Tao is an island in Surat Thani province and is considered a quieter destination than the neighbouring islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, where 'full moon' parties attract travellers from Thailand and abroad.
According to the Lonely Planet travel guide, the small southern island welcomes thousands of visitors who 'come to worship the turquoise waters offshore'. Its bright coral, sharks and rays bring in divers, hikers enjoy jungle walks and the bar scene 'rages on until dawn'.
There were 362 deaths of British nationals in Thailand in 2013, including people who died in accidents and of natural causes.
As many as 11 Britons have been murdered in Thailand since 2009, according the FCO.
At a 2012/13 New Year's Eve party Londoner Stephen Ashton, 22, was killed in a bar on Haad Rin beach on the island of Koh Phangan when he was caught in the cross fire of a gun fight between two local gangs.
In July last year an American was stabbed to death and his son seriously injured in an attack in a bar in Krabi, a town on Thailand's south coast.
The murder of two Britons will be considered a further setback for Thailand's tourism industry which is still recovering from the military coup which took place in May this year.
For a time tourists had to obey a strict night curfew which was lifted after a few weeks. The FCO warns Britons that it is illegal to criticise the coup and that visitors 'should be wary of making political statements in public'.