British man convicted of infamous 'body in suitcase' murder

British man convicted of infamous 'body in suitcase' murder

Shane Kenneth Looker was photographed at immigration when he entered Thailand in late 2014. He was convicted of the 'body in a suitcase' murder on Tuesday. (Photo via Royal Thai Police)
Shane Kenneth Looker was photographed at immigration when he entered Thailand in late 2014. He was convicted of the 'body in a suitcase' murder on Tuesday. (Photo via Royal Thai Police)

A court in Kanchanaburi on Tuesday convicted a British man of the 2014 murder of a woman whose dismembered body was found in a suitcase dumped in a river.

Shane Kenneth Looker was given an eight-year prison sentence for killing 27-year-old sex worker Laxami Manochat in a hotel room and disposing of her body.

Police said the 51-year-old had been photographed with Laxami -- nicknamed "Pook" -- leaving a Bangkok go-go bar on Nov 1, 2014, before the pair were seen entering a hotel together.

Only Looker was seen leaving the premises, with a bellboy reporting his large bag was so heavy it took two people to carry it, and a hotel cleaner saying the room's bedsheets were bloodstained.

"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 suspended jail term," an official at the court in the western town of Kanchanaburi said.

Looker was ordered to pay compensation of just under 10 million baht plus interest to Laxami's mother, as well as two million baht plus interest to the murdered woman's daughter, another court official said.

Laxami's dismembered corpse was found on Nov 6, 2014, in a suitcase loaded with stones and tossed into the Mae Klong River.

Looker's DNA was later discovered under her nails.

Kanchanaburi Provincial Court issued an arrest warrant on Jan 28, 2015, for "murdering and hiding, moving or destroying a body in order to conceal the death or cause of death".

But the Briton -- who laid low at his holiday home in the seaside resort of Hua Hin for weeks before taking a train over the border to Malaysia -- had already hot-footed it to Spain.

Looker was detained in June 2017 on the party island of Ibiza by Spanish authorities acting on an international arrest warrant.

He spent years fighting an exhaustive legal battle against extradition, claiming he would be subject to inhumane treatment in Thailand.

Eventually the European Court of Human Rights rejected his challenge, after Thai authorities gave assurances he would not face the death penalty, and he was sent to the kingdom to face trial in July.

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