UK man has been in custody in Thailand since being extradited in July 2021 after the European Court of Human Rights threw out his appeal against a decision of Spain’s High Court that he should stand trial in Thailand for the murder of sex worker Laxami Manochat or ‘Pook’ in November 2014. The convicted man owned a hotel on the Spanish holiday island of Ibiza and was a regular visitor to Thailand where he owned a residence in Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.
British national, Shane Kenneth Looker, was sentenced to eight years in prison on Tuesday by the Provincial Court in Kanchanaburi for the 2014 murder of a Bangkok based sex worker whose body was found in a red suitcase in the Mae Klong River on November 6th 2014. Mr Looker, according to the court’s judgement, confessed to the crime after a concerted effort to evade justice in the matter and repeated denials of his involvement until he was extradited to Thailand from Spain in July 2021.
A UK national from Stoke, in central England, was convicted and sentenced on Tuesday by the Provincial Court in Kanchanaburi for the murder of a Thai sex worker in the early hours of November 2nd 2014, after being extradited from Spain to Thailand last July.
The British man was also convicted of dismembering and concealing the victim’s body.
Stoke-on-Trent man’s fate sealed when European Court of Human Rights rejected his appeal in 2021
The fate of Shane Kenneth Looker had been sealed on Tuesday, May 25th 2021, when the European Court of Human Rights brought an end to his efforts to evade justice in the case after he was arrested by the Spanish Guardia Civil in June 2017 for the murder of 31 year old Laxami Manochat or ‘Pook’, a prostitute working from the Nana Entertainment complex in Nana, off Sukhumvit in Bangkok.
Ms Laxami was picked up there by Mr Looker on the night of November 1st 2014.
Mr Looker, who has owned a hotel on the Spanish Mediterranean island of Ibiza, was a regular visitor to Thailand where he owned a residence in the Tippawan area of Hua Hin located in the coastal province of Prachuap Khiri Khan.
UK national ordered to pay ฿12 million to victim’s mother and daughter as compensation for the killing
The decision of the court, on Tuesday, was accompanied by a short statement by a court official: ‘The defendant is found guilty of charges and sentenced to 16 years in jail but due to his confession, the court reduced his sentence by half to eight years without a suspended jail term.’
A further statement from the court revealed that Looker was ordered to pay slightly less than ฿10 million plus interest to the mother of Ms Laxami in compensation together with a further ฿2 million plus interest to the victim’s daughter.
This money will have to be paid before the 52-year-old man is eligible for release from prison.
Thai officials promised the court in Europe that the death penalty would not be sought against Looker
Thai officials who have pursued Mr Looker since an arrest warrant was issued for him by the Provincial Court in Kanchanaburi in January 2015 and an international red notice warrant was issued through Interpol in June 2015, last year, gave an undertaking to the European Court of Human Rights that the suspect would not face the death penalty concerning the charges against him in a Thai court.
This followed pleadings to the court sitting in Strasbourg by Mr Looker alleging that he would face inhuman punishment in Thailand if he was extradited to the kingdom to face trial.
Before the news on Tuesday that Looker had confessed to murdering the young woman who at the time of her death was the mother of a young daughter, he had assiduously maintained his innocence of the charges as he contested his extradition from Spain.
UK man denied any knowledge or involvement in the death of Ms Laxami before extradition to Thailand
In February 2015, after the arrest warrant was issued in Thailand charging Mr Looker with the murder and concealment of the body of Ms Laxami, whose dismembered remains were found in a red suitcase in a river in Kanchanaburi on November 6th 2014, less than a week after her murder, Looker, through a legal agent on the Spanish holiday island, issued a statement denying any knowledge of what happened to the young woman.
‘He has told me categorically he had absolutely nothing to do with this woman’s murder,’ said Looker’s representative, Mr Jason Coghlan.
Following the discovery of the body, in a suitcase weighed down by rocks, horrified officers of the Royal Thai Police, led by Police Lieutenant General Werapong Chuenpagdee in Bangkok and Police Major General Kamolsanti Klanbut in Kanchanaburi, first of all, identified the victim in the case.
They then quickly identified Looker as a person of interest after he was seen leaving the Nana Nightlife Centre on November 1st 2014 with Pook.
Killer had only flown into Thailand the day before he met the sex worker at the Nana nightlife centre
Looker had only flown into Thailand the night before, on October 31st 2014, and was staying in a hotel off Soi 5 on Sukhumvit relatively near the nightlife venue known for its neon lights, strip clubs and go-go bars.
CCTV image of a well-built foreigner in shorts seen walking out of the Nana Plaza adult entertainment centre was followed by an accurate tip-off
At the hotel, CCTV footage showed the British man entering with Ms Laxami or ‘Pook’ from Sisaket province in lower northeastern Thailand within the Isan region, which is home to many of the sex workers in the Thai capital.
It was the last time she was seen alive.
Bellboy at Looker’s hotel recalls a red suitcase that took two people to lift next day as he departed
Pook was wearing a skimpy black top, beige short pants, back high heeled shoes and a pink pair of thongs, all items which were later recovered from the suitcase in Kanchanaburi, days later when it and its macabre contents were found in the Mae Klong River.
The conviction of Looker, on Tuesday, leaves many unanswered questions such as why the 31-year-old woman was murdered and how the red suitcase ended up in Kanchanaburi.
Investigating police who interviewed staff at the hotel heard from the bellboy there that it took two people to lift the red suitcase when Mr Looker departed the hotel on the morning of November 2nd 2014.
He later hired a minivan, for which he paid ฿1,500 and which dropped him off near a Big C Shopping Centre near where he lived in Hua Hin.
Housekeeping staff at the hotel also told police that the sheets in the British man’s room were stained with blood.
British killer evaded police for three weeks staying in Hua Hin before quietly slipping out of Thailand
Nevertheless, Looker was able to evade the police by staying at his lair in Hua Hin for over three weeks before he travelled, by train, on November 24th 2014, across Thailand’s southern border into Malaysia.
Within three days, he was back in Spain.
Looker was placed under surveillance on the island of Ibiza by the Spanish Guardia Civil from June 2015 until his arrest in June 2017 after the international arrest warrant was issued for him.
The original warrant, issued by the Provincial Court in Kanchanaburi, had charged Shane Kenneth Looker with ‘murdering and hiding, moving or destroying a body to conceal the death or cause of death’ after the Royal Thai Police had conducted an extensive forensic examination of his former Hua Hin home after it was raided in December 2014.
Looker’s Hua Hin home helped police solve the crime and prove their case against him after it was raided
There, they had discovered the T-Shirt and shorts worn by the killer on the night of November 1st 2014 as well as DNA samples from his hairbrush and toothbrush which matched DNA samples found under the fingernails of the dead woman’s dismembered body.
Police officers in Bangkok, at headquarters, were afterwards never in any doubt that they had found Pook’s killer.
His arrest in 2017 followed a lengthy and comprehensive document sent by the Royal Thai Police in Bangkok to its Spanish counterparts and legal authorities detailing the weighty circumstantial evidence against the Briton and indeed that evidence proved incontrovertible as Looker attempted to evade justice in the case.
Instead of appealing the Spanish High Court’s decision to extradite him to the Supreme Court, Looker, in 2018, tried to evade the charge on constitutional grounds which failed.
He later appealed to the European Court of Human Rights which made its final ruling in May last year.
Top European court threw out killer’s appeal
The court found that Looker was seeking to prolong the legal process and was swayed by strong assurances from Thai authorities that the suspect, if handed over to their custody, would not face mistreatment.
Shane Kenneth Looker emerged from a plane at Suvarnabhumi Airport in July 2021 and was met by a strong force of police including officers in Hazmat suits and legally charged with the murder of Laxami Manochat.
It is not known if he will appeal Tuesday’s court judgement, or if, on the other hand, an appeal is to be made by prosecutors questioning the leniency of the sentence handed down to the Court of Appeal.
We also have not heard what other mitigating factors as well as the defendant’s confession to the crime were taken into account by the court.