We weren’t happy about her going to Thailand, say family of murdered student Hannah Witheridge

Hannah Witheridge was killed in 2014 in Thailand.

Hannah Witheridge was killed in 2014 in Thailand. - Credit: Archant

The family of murdered Hemsby student Hannah Witheridge had pleaded with her not to go to Thailand, an inquest heard today.

Win Zaw Htun, right, and Zaw Lin, left, both 22, were convicted of murdering Hannah Witheridge and D

Win Zaw Htun, right, and Zaw Lin, left, both 22, were convicted of murdering Hannah Witheridge and David Miller (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn) - Credit: AP

Miss Witheridge, 23, was found bludgeoned to death on a beach on the island of Koh Tao in 2014, alongside the body of fellow backpacker David Miller, from Jersey.

Her mother Susan Witheridge revealed that after her daughter returned from a holiday to Spain she had been planning a three-week trip with friends, mentioning Australia, Europe and Thailand.

The former UEA student, who lived on the Parklands estate in Hemsby and was studying for a masters in speech language therapy, made the last minute decision to go to Thailand.

'None of the family were happy with her going from the start,' said Mrs Witheridge, in a written statement. 'We tried to talk her out of it but her mind was made up.'

Tony Witheridge leaving the inquest into the death of his daughter Hannah.

Tony Witheridge leaving the inquest into the death of his daughter Hannah. - Credit: Archant

She was in touch every day from Thailand sending pictures of her adventures.

She stayed with a tribe in a jungle, bathed elephants and bought a Thai cook book to treat family to meal when home, and her family were 'out of [their] minds with worry' throughout.

Most Read

'When she reached Koh Tao my mind relaxed as she was on a small island sunbathing to enjoy the last few days of her holiday,' said Mrs Witheridge.

Then came the news.

When police informed Hannah's father Tony Witheridge, he collapsed on the floor sobbing, said Mrs Witheridge.

'The facts were brutal and too much to bear,' she said.

A post-mortem examination by a UK pathologist gave the medical cause of death as severe head injuries.

It noted that there were multiple blows to the skull, consistent with the use of the blade of a hoe wielded as a weapon, and death would have been rapid.

There was evidence of dragging and sexual assault, and no signs of defensive injuries.

On Christmas Eve 2015 two migrant workers from Myanmar were convicted of the murders.

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, also known as Win Zaw Htun, initially confessed to the murders but later retracted their statements, claiming they had been tortured.

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake today recorded a conclusion of unlawful killing.

Mrs Witheridge described her daughter as a 'beautiful, fun-loving young woman', and 'there wasn't a bad bone in her body'.

'She achieved so much and had so much more ahead of her,' she said. 'I will never know why it happened.'

Miss Witheridge's father Tony, who attended the hearing, was asked by Ms Lake if he wanted to say anything.

He replied only to say: 'I think it's exactly how it happened.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter