Man due in court over Thai death

Herald Series: A man accused of shooting dead British holidaymaker Stephen Ashton in Thailand is due to appear in court A man accused of shooting dead British holidaymaker Stephen Ashton in Thailand is due to appear in court

A man accused of shooting dead a British holidaymaker during a New Year's Eve party in Thailand is expected to appear in court.

Ekkapan Kaewkla, 26, has been charged with killing Stephen Ashton and carrying a weapon following the incident on the paradise island of Koh Phangan.

Mr Ashton, a former city trader from Purley, south London, was enjoying New Year celebrations when he was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight between rival gangs.

British ambassador to Thailand, Mark Kent, is expected to visit the crime scene after footage emerged of Kaewkla and Thai police carrying out a reconstruction of events there.

The 22-year-old's family reportedly travelled to Koh Phangan to identify his body formally and make arrangements for his repatriation.

Thai police said Mr Ashton was with a group of friends and 300 other tourists seeing in 2013 at a pub and restaurant called the Zoom Bar in Haad Rin Beach when he was shot by a home-made gun shortly after 4am on Monday.

Koh Phangan, situated north of tourist haven Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, is a popular destination for backpackers and students on gap years. One of its attractions is its monthly full moon party at Haad Rin Beach, and many people know it as the setting for Alex Garland's novel The Beach, which was made into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Mr Kent warned of risks to western tourists, and urged people to read the travel advice on the Foreign Office website.

The advice, which was updated last month, notes that seven British nationals have been murdered in Thailand since January 2009.

It says western tourists have been victims of vicious unprovoked attacks by gangs in Koh Phangan.

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