Pickup truck serial killer's final victim is himself

Pickup truck serial killer's final victim is himself

A suspected serial killer whose victims were pickup truck owners committed suicide in his prison cell in Prachuap Khiri Khan province yesterday morning.

Nirut: Hanged himself with his shirt

Nirut Sonkhamhan, 43, hanged himself with his shirt in the toilet about 5.30am yesterday, following a failed attempt to commit suicide in another cell on Monday.

Pol Lt Col Noppadol Thuwangkhawat, chief of Khlongwan police station in Muang Prachuap Khiri Khan district, said officers on duty tried to rescue him to no avail.

The Crime Suppression Division (CSD) brought Nirut to the police station in Prachuap Khiri Khan at 8pm on Tuesday for interrogation on suspicion of killing a pickup truck owner in the province in March last year.

The native of Songkhla province was questioned for two hours but rarely spoke to interrogators and looked stressed.

Nirut reportedly tried to hang himself in a cell of the CSD on Monday but the wire he used snapped.

Pol Lt Col Noppadol quoted his subordinates as reporting that Nirut entered the toilet of his cell, which he occupied alone, took off his shirt, tore a sleeve and inserted his head into it. He stepped onto a bucket, tied his shirt to a bar of his cell window and hanged himself.

According to police, over the past year Nirut poisoned nine pickup truck owners who offered charter services by mixing pesticide in drinks he bought for his victims en route.

He is believed to have dropped unconscious victims by the roadside, taking their valuables and selling their trucks to a gang in Songkhla province.

Four victims were killed, three survived and two went missing. Nirut was arrested in Nakhon Pathom on Monday.

CSD police yesterday arrested a relative of Nirut's wife for selling the stolen pickup trucks.

Pairat Chawaha, 48, was arrested at his house in Khlong Hoi Khong district of Songkhla province yesterday.

Police also seized a silver-coloured Toyota pickup truck belonging to Somsak Sijampa, whom Nirut is suspected to have killed on April 8 this year.

Mr Pairat allegedly confessed he was part of the same gang as Mr Nirut.

Nirut had him sell each stolen truck for 70,000 to 100,000 baht. He earned a share of 10,000 baht per vehicle.

Mr Pairat said Nirut typically targeted two-seater Toyota Vigo pickup trucks without an extended cab because they were easy to sell.

The suspect denied any knowledge about the possibility that the trucks they were selling were destined for the southern border provinces.

A source claimed that Nirut and Mr Pairat were members of a car theft gang led by a local politician in Khlong Hoi Khong district.

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