The family of Hannah Witheridge, the British backpacker raped and murdered on Koh Tao in 2014, begged her not to travel to Thailand, according to evidence presented during her inquest.
In a written statement, her mother, Susan Witheridge, told how Hannah had originally planned her backpacking trip to take place in Europe or Australia but had changed her mind and chosen Thailand instead – against her family’s wishes as they feared for her safety in the Kingdom.
“The family had always been against Hannah going on the trip and tried to persuade her out of it,” said Susan.
“None of the family was happy with her going there, but she had made her mind up.”
In an attempt to allay their fears, Hannah had been messaging and Skyping her family practically everyday since landing in Thailand, keeping them updated with her travels and adventures – including cookery courses and trekking.
Her mother reveals how they had relaxed by the time Hannah had made it to Koh Tao, assuming that the 23-year old would simply be “just swimming and sunbathing,” during her time on the island, according to the Mirror.
Tragically Hannah’s trip came to a violent end here instead as she was raped and murdered alongside fellow British traveller, David Miller, on one of Koh Tao’s beaches.
“September 16 was the day which changed our lives forever. My husband burst into my kitchen and collapsed crying and sobbing,” her mother told the inquest.
“It was like a bad dream – but my dreams were never like this.”
Both Susan and her husband, Tony, from whom she is separated, flew to Thailand to be briefed on the tragedy by the British Embassy.
The British inquest into Hannah’s death found that Hannah had died from severe head injuries consistent with multiple blows from a hoe. Dr Nat Cary, a Home Office pathologist who conducted a post-mortem, found it likely Hannah would have died “rapidly.”
Tony Witheridge was the only family member to attend the inquest and when questioned as to whether he wanted to say anything by the coroner said, “I think it’s exactly how it happened, or unfolded.”
In her statement, Susan Witheridge paid tribute to her daughter as a “beautiful and fun loving woman who filled the room with love and happiness”.
“There wasn’t a bad bone in her body. She achieved so much and had so much more ahead of her. Our family is broken and will never be the same again.”
Hannah’s UK inquest comes in the wake of the conclusion of the controversy-ridden trial of Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, the Burmese migrant workers convicted of Hannah and David Miller’s murders and sentenced to the death penalty.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, Hannah’s sister Laura Witheridge criticised Thailand and the way the trial had been conducted, describing it as “bungled.”
Featured image is of Hannah Witheridge, via The Telegraph