The families of the young Brits who mysteriously lost their lives in Koh Tao have vowed to find out the truth and say “something dodgy is going on.”
The grieving families have formed a support group following the death of their children on the Thai island, dubbed “death island.”
A great number of Western backpackers have died under unexplained circumstances on this tiny tropical island in the past years.
Boyne Annesley believes his 23-year-old daughter Christina Annesley, of Orpington, southeast London, was murdered on Koh Tao Island in January 2015.
The university graduate, who was two weeks into a four-month backpacking trip round South East Asia, was found dead on her bungalow in January 2015.
At the time rumours of secret CCTV footage, inconclusive blood samples and a mysterious Swedish man, made Christina’s dad suspicious.
He told the Sun Online: “We want justice. We have done our own investigation and we are sure she was murdered.
“We haven’t given up.
“At first, we accepted what the Thai authorities had said because we knew no different.
“We identified a person who was with her last and they didn’t follow up with them- then we asked for a blood sample and they delayed.
“We asked for a copy of the CCTV footage and they said it was destroyed.
Through their own investigation, and talking to witnesses Mr. Annesley discovered that the room where his daughter was staying was given to someone else “three hours after her body was taken.”
The dad added that some of the witnesses they spoke to were “too frightened” to come forward which shows “how the culture is.”
“They won’t come forward because they know something is going to happen to them,” he added.
The mum of Ben Harrington Pat was never convinced by the local police’s explanation that her 32-year-old son broke his neck when he crashed into an electricity pylon on a night-time moped ride in August 2012.
A UK autopsy later revealed Ben died of a transected aorta — a rupture of the body’s largest artery — rather than a broken neck.
“They did a visual post-mortem – just by looking at him they said he died of a broken neck and that his face was looking towards his back.
“They said they were going to cremate him the next day – I had to call the Home Office to stop the cremation.
“I got him home and they had a proper postmortem – most of his bones were broken but the one bone that wasn’t broken was his neck and there was no evidence of his face looking towards his back.
“Then I started thinking what’s going on here?”
“What we’re after are some answers- whether we are going to get them or not I don’t know.
“I have no proof that Ben was murdered. There were no witnesses.
“I only had my suspicions, his body came back to me without a wallet or anything on him.
“So my suspicions are that it was a mugging that went wrong.
“As long as I can breathe I will keep trying to find answers.”
She added: “They didn’t do any investigation at all.
“Another one of my sons was there with him, he was absolutely distraught looking at the police just laughing at him.
“There was no compassion at all- he had to go down to identify the body which he couldn’t do and while he was sitting there the police were just laughing. That is awful.
And the same goes for Luke Miller’s mum Sara Cotton.
The bricklayer from Newport, Isle of Wight, was found at the bottom of the pool at the Sunset Bar at Sairee Beach in January 2016.
A coroner ruled in 2017 said that there is “no evidence” to suggest Luke was murdered.
“As long as I can breathe I will keep trying to find answers.”Pat Harrington
The hearing was told that a post-mortem examination in Thailand showed that Mr Miller had a number of small bruises on his face and legs and gave a cause of death of head injuries and drowning.
Nick Pearson, 25, was found floating in an island bay, at the foot of a 50ft drop on New Year’s Day 2014.
Despite claims of a fall, he had no broken bones. While police ruled out foul play, Nick’s family, who say officers did not investigate a single witness, believe he was murdered.
UK reporter Suzanne Buchanan has thoroughly investigated the cases alongside the deaths of Belgian Elise Dellemange, Swiss Hans Peter Suter and French Dimitri Povse -who also were also found dead under mysterious circumstances.
The former founder of the Samui Times suggests in her new book The curse of the Turtle, released earlier this month by WildBlue Press, that “something fishy is going on on that island.”
She challenges the validity of the investigations conducted by the Thai police claiming she has a lot of evidence and speaks of “powerful local families running the island without having to comply with any laws”
For example, she discovered that one of the DNA labs that conducted tests at the time only had accreditation to do paternity tests and not criminal profiling in a capital murder case.
Buchanan told the Sun Online: “They all died in really mysterious circumstances- the Thai version of Christina Annesley’s death was that she died of natural causes, she’s 23!
“They suggested that she mixed antibiotics with alcohol- as much as that would make the antibiotics less efficient or make you feel bad, it’s not going to kill you.
“None of the families believe that the way the police said they died is actually how they died and they are all very unhappy with the investigation.
“When Nick Pearson died the police didn’t go to his room, they didn’t interview anybody.
“Again when Christina Annesley died police didn’t interview the last person she was seen with while she was alive.
“It’s just really shoddy investigation work- I personally think there’s something going on on that island.
“Why are the police not thoroughly investigating, why are they changing facts?
“About Nick Pearson they said he fell out of his bungalow and ended up drowning in the ocean.
“The bungalow is 50ft above the ocean, there’s nothing but massive granite boulders between his bungalow and the ocean so how did he managed to tumble all the way down there?
“It would be impossible, some of the boulders are so big they would have stopped him but he didn’t have a single broken bone.
“Their explanations as to why these kids have died just don’t add up- you don’t have to be a pathologist or a doctor to know what we’ve been told is nonsensical.”
Buchanan who left Thailand in 2016 after receiving death threats for her reporting, reached out to the victims’ families and formed a support group.
She added: “The families of all the victims are not happy with the police reports, autopsy reports in Thailand don’t match autopsy reports in the UK.
“We are like one big family, we’ve been through this journey for the past seven years together.
“How are they ever going to get closure and justice if they don’t know what happened?
“The families don’t believe a word of the Thai police investigation.
“There’s a disproportionate amount of suspicious deaths on that island- and the link is that none of the families believe the police investigation or the information they’ve been given.
The reporter was forced to leave the country she lived in for 20 years after Thai authorities issued an arrest warrant accusing her of “publishing false information” and “violating the computer crime law.”
It followed her reporting on the case of a British girl who was allegedly raped on the same beach.
“The more I was getting involved, the more I was reporting, the more upset the Thais would get,” she added.
“I was told on more than one occasion that I needed to take down this stuff from the paper.
“They told me ‘you need to stop reporting on it if you want to stay here, they are getting fed up with you now’
“No one put a gun to my head but I was told by multiple sources that if I didn’t stop reporting on it there’d be trouble- it wasn’t safe for me anymore.”
Also on the list of unexplained tourist deaths are French Dimitri Povse, 29, who was found hanged in a bungalow on New Year’s Day 2015.
While his death was ruled as suicide cops could not explain why his hands are tied behind his back.
The following month Russian Valentina Novozhyonova, 23, vanished from her hostel sparking a police search.
Staff checked her room to discover her mobile phone, passport and camera had all been left behind.
A backpacker from Belgium, Elise Dallemagne, 30, was found hanged in the hills on the island on April 28, 2017.
While police claimed that she hanged herself, mystery surrounded her death, as it was revealed she used a fake name at the hostel she was staying.
German Bernd Grotsch, 47, was found dead at his home deep in the jungle in the Mae Haad part of Koh Tao.
The father-of-one’s family in Ingolstadt, Germany, said at the time they did not believe the authorities’ claims that he died of “heart failure” or had been “bitten by a snake.”
The families have opened up in Sky’s new documentary, Death on The Beach, saying they believe Thai police covered up what really happened to their loved ones.