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in-focus

Pair escape life sentences


‘MURDER BABES’ JAILED BUT FAMILY OF SLAIN WARISARA PLAN APPEAL FOR HEAVIER PUNISHMENT

TWO WOMEN dubbed the “Murder Babes” by media were yesterday handed decades-long prison sentences for the grisly killing of rival Warisara Klinjui last May.
A Khon Kaen Court initially sentenced Priyanuch “Praew” Nonwangchai, 24, and Kawita Rachada, 26, to life in prison. The tariff was then commuted to 34 years and six months each, as both had confessed during the trial to the killing of 22-year-old Warisara, whose dismembered body was found buried in a forest in Khao Suan Kwang district on May 25 last year. Priyanuch and Kawita were found guilty of conspiring to murder Warisara, conspiring to destroy and hide her body and conspiring in theft.
Waitress Warisara was murdered after allegedly informing police of drug trafficking by Priyanuch’s boyfriend.
Another defendant, 22-year-old Wasin Namprom, was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder, conspiring to destroy and hide the body, and conspiring in theft. Wasin was sentenced to 23 years, four months and 20 days.
A fourth defendant, Apiwan Satayabundit, 28, was found guilty of conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to destroy and hide the body, and taking methamphetamine, and was handed 33 years and nine months in jail. 
Priyanuch, Kawita, Wasin and Apiwan – who were absolved of premeditated murder and carrying knives in a public place – were ordered to pay Bt1.07 million in compensation plus 7.5 per cent annual interest since the murder until the full payment was made to Warisara’s mother, Pichapa Khamperngjai. Upon hearing the verdict, Priyanuch, Kawita, and Apiwan broke down in tears.

Pair escape life sentences

A fifth defendant, Jidarat Phromkhun, 21, who had pled guilty to receiving stolen items at the first court session on February 20, was given a one-year jail term without suspension.
Warisara’s family was reportedly unsatisfied with the sentences and planned to seek heavier penalties at the Appeals Court.
Priyanuch's family appeared calm on hearing the verdict, with her elder sister Prapasiri Prasomsri vowing to launch an appeal for lighter punishment, which Priyanuch and Kawita’s lawyer Amornpong Chankawi confirmed would be submitted within a month.
The case has received huge public attention, involving as it did the grisly murder and dismemberment of a beautiful young woman by a group of women in their 20s whose widely publicised photos saw them dubbed the “murder babes”. 
The police investigation and subsequent hunt for Priyanuch, Kawita and Apiwan, who initially fled to Myanmar after the killing, has been making headlines for months. 

Published : May 10, 2018

By : JITIMA JANPHROM THE NATION