Murderer of Swiss tourist in Phuket gets life sentence
The Phuket Court on Tuesday found Teerawat Thothip guilty of murdering Swiss national Nicole Sauvain-Weisskopf and sentenced him to death, but the defendant confessed to the crime and therefore got his sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
Teerawat, also known as Bang Faree, had murdered Sauvain-Weisskopf, 57, at a waterfall in Phuket’s Muang district on August 3 last year.
The court dismissed the attempted rape and indecent-assault charges.
Sauvain-Weisskopf, who was a deputy protocol chief of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, had arrived in the country under the Phuket Sandbox programme.
She was seen leaving her hotel in Ao Yon, Wichit subdistrict, around 11.30am on August 3 and arrived at Ao Yon waterfall some 20 minutes later.
Teerawat, 28, had gone to the waterfall the same day to collect wild orchids. He met Sauvain-Weisskopf on the way down while she was sitting on a rock by a stream. Teerawat reportedly choke-held the victim from behind and forced her head into the water until she fell unconscious. He then dragged her body to the shore and took off her shorts and underwear, then covered her body with a black plastic sheet and rocks he found nearby. He searched her bag and took 300 baht in cash.
He was arrested a few days later and charged with murder, attempted rape and indecent assault.
The victim’s husband and two sons watched the court’s reading of the sentence from Switzerland via Google Meet on Tuesday afternoon. They thanked the Phuket Court, provincial prosecutors and police officers for tracking down the culprit and arresting him.