3 Thai men sentenced to die for killing British man and wife

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PHRAE, Thailand (AP) — Three men in northern Thailand were found guilty Friday of murdering a British expat and his Thai wife and sentenced to death.

The bodies of retired petroleum engineer Alan Hogg, 64, and his wife Nhot Suddaen, 61, were found buried on their property in Phrae province last September.

The Phrae Provincial Court found Nhot's older brother, Warut Rattanasajjakit, guilty of masterminding the couple's murders and hiring two other men to help him carry out the attack. All three were found guilty of premeditated murder, concealing bodies, illegal possession of weapons without licenses and bringing those weapons into the city without licenses.

Police had accused Warut of plotting the murders in order to take control of Hogg's assets and sell some of them.

According to the court's ruling, Warut initially asked his neighbor, Suma Utpamoon, to assist him in the murders but Suma refused after learning that Warut sought to kill his own sister. However, Suma was still paid by Warut for recommending the two men to do the job and was charged by the court with assisting premeditated murder.

Suma received a 25-year prison sentence, which was halved from a 50-year penalty because he cooperated with the investigation.

The court found that the two hired men shot Hogg with a shotgun, while Warut bludgeoned his sister to death using a car wrench. It said the killers then used a backhoe to dig a hole outside the couple's home to bury their bodies.

The bodies were discovered once the couple was reported missing and a police investigation began.

The court called the murders "an act that extremely damages the country's reputation as unable to ensure the safety of lives and assets." In said the three were considered "extremely dangerous to society."

Pawina Chuayen, a lawyer for the family of the victims, said their foreign relatives were satisfied with the court's ruling but were also deeply affected by the events and not ready to speak about the case.

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