Spaniard sought for gruesome slaying caught in Cambodia, flown to Bangkok; admits knowing victim.
A SPANIARD accused of murdering a compatriot in Bangkok insisted yesterday that he is innocent. He claims he knew the victim but did not kill him, national police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda said.
However, Chakthip said police were confident that the evidence they have gathered is strong enough to prove that Arthur Segarra, 37, killed and dismembered David Bernat in January.
The police chief flew by helicopter to Trat province yesterday to pick up Segarra, who fled Thailand via Chong Chom border checkpoint in Surin province to Cambodia – only to be arrested in the seaside town of Sihanoukville on Sunday.
“The suspect still denies any involvement in the killing, [but] he admitted that he knew the victim,” the police chief said. The suspect had entered Thailand 271 times. For now, it seemed that he had no accomplice.
Pol General Panya Mamen, the chief investigator, said forensic evidence and statements from witnesses pointed to the suspect of being the killer of Bernat.
Earlier reports said that Segarra was planning to escape by sea before he was arrested in Sihanoukville.
The Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Segarra for the alleged premeditated murder and burying, hiding, moving and destroying the body to conceal the cause of the death.
The Spaniard, born in Catalonia, is accused of killing Bernat, a businessman also from Catalonia, before cutting up the corpse and dumping it into the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok at several locations.
The body parts were found in several places in Bangkok and nearby provinces.
Thai police also held for questioning Segarra’s Thai girlfriend, Pridsana Saenubon, who admitted that he had fled from Bangkok to the northeast province of Surin with her.
Segarra was eating dinner in a Surin restaurant when he was identified by a group of local people who had seen news reports of the murder. He allegedly fled to neighbouring Cambodia on a red Honda motorcycle, found abandoned near the border on Saturday morning.
He is thought have travelled to Sihanoukville, which is about 760 kilometres from the Surin border, before being arrested on Sunday.
“We have learnt that the suspect had planned to leave Sihanoukville by sea for an unknown destination,” the source said. The arrest was conducted at a local restaurant after Cambodian national police received a tip-off from their local counterparts.
Sihanoukville has gained notoriety as a transit point for smuggled goods, as well as other illegal activities.
The source said that Segarra is still denying any involvement in the killing of Bernat. He has already been charged for overstaying his visa.
Bernat, 40 was last seen alive on January 20 in Bangkok, in the company of another foreigner.
Police said the victim appeared to have been tortured and then asphyxiated between January 25 and 27. They believed it was an extortion case – that he was kidnapped and murdered for financial reasons.
Police had detected “movements of large quantities of money” from Bernat’s accounts in Singapore to banks in Spain and Thailand, where Segarra also had accounts. Forensic officials searched a condo in Huay Kwang in an attempt to find more evidence on the murder of Bernat.
Another source said the suspect had rented the condo since July. Chief investigator Pol Gen Panya Mamen declined to say whether the body was dismembered at the condo.
They also expanded the search to a house in the Ramkamhaeng area for the second time in a bid to find out whether Segarra had accomplices. The source said an investigation into security camera footage showed that Bernat was seen with the suspect just before disappearing.