Thai woman and lover jailed over murder

THE THAI wife of a Harborough-born man has been jailed for life along with her lover after being found guilty of murdering her husband.

Ian Beeston (69), who grew up in Knights End Road, Great Bowden, was clubbed and stabbed to death in Roi-Et, north-eastern Thailand, on August 9, last year.

A murder trail started last Thursday and standing accused of Mr Beeston's murder were his 43-year-old wife Wachariewau Beeston (nee Kongmee) and her lover Songjit Channondon (49).

Unlike British law, where trials can takes weeks if not months, Thai justice proved swift.

Statements for prosecution and defence were given last Thursday and a Roi-Et courtroom found the defendants guilty.

The hearing was adjourned until yesterday, when Mr Beeston's wife and Channondon were sentenced to life behind bars.

It is believed Mr Beeston's wife denied the murder charge and that Channondon admitted assault but denied intending to kill Mr Beeston.

Under the strange system of Thai law, after Channondon was arrested last summer he was taken back to the scene of the murder and showed onlookers how he had clubbed Mr Beeston to death with a bamboo-like cane.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said yesterday: "We are aware of the sentencing of Wachariewau Kongmee and Songjit Channondon.

"Both have been found guilty at a Roi-Et courtroom and given life imprisonment for the murder of Mr Beeston.

"We are in close contact with the family."

Father-of-two Mr Beeston was described as a 'lovely chap' by neighbours in Thailand.

It is believed he moved to the country ten years ago and invested his 350,000 life savings in a guest house and restaurant.

A former pupil at Market Harborough Grammar School – now Robert Smyth – and a member of the town's air cadets, he moved away from Harborough when aged in his 20s.

His body was found in a blood-soaked room and Thai authorities said Mr Beeston may have taken as long as seven hours to die.

Mr Beeston's step-sister Hilary Dew, now of Worthing, told the Mail yesterday: "I'm pleased to hear they have been found guilty and that they are being punished.

"Being this distance away it's difficult to add any more."

However, she did query the thoroughness of the Thai legal system, given the brief tenure of the court hearing.

Mrs Dew's father, Arnold Tipper, married Mr Beeston's mother Lilian, but they both died in a car crash in Berkshire in 1966.