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Fruit picker charged with murdering 'adopted stepdaughter’

Jun 19. 2017
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By The Nation

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A 61-year-old fruit picker suspected of raping and murdering his 40-year-old “stepdaughter” in Chanthaburi was arrested at a relative’s house in his Si Sa Ket hometown on Saturday.

Phetch Pathumwan was presented to the press in Chanthaburi on Sunday along with a metre-long bamboo stick believed used in the murder and then taken to the scene in Khao Kitchakud district to re-enact the alleged crime. 

Chanthaburi police chief Pol Maj General Charan Jitjeujun claimed Phetch had confessed to beating the victim on the head with the stick, ending a fight following a drinking session that left both of them drunk. 

The woman’s body was found on Friday morning with trousers pulled off and shirt partially opened.

Phetch allegedly told police that he removed her clothes for sex, but discovered she was dead and fled. He also claimed he didn’t rape the woman, since she’d consented to sex. 

The contradiction and further contradicting evidence at the scene led police to charge Phetch with murder pending forensic tests, which could bring additional charges including rape.

Phetch, who only met the victim when both were on their way to seek fruit-picking jobs in Chanthaburi late last month, were not related. He said she asked him to act as her stepfather. 

Their employer told police the victim had phoned his wife on Thursday night to say she wanted to quit because she could no longer tolerate Phetch’s sexual harassment. She allegedly often complained to the wife that he’d tried to molest her.

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