Murder Of British Yachtsman: Trio Jailed
Three Burmese fishermen have been sentenced for the murder of British yachtsman Malcolm Robertson off the coast of Thailand.
The 64-year-old was bludgeoned with a hammer and his body thrown overboard while his wife Linda was tied up naked in a cabin after the Burmese migrants swam to the boat and climbed on board.
The couple had been sailing off the Andaman sea coast, near Thailand, last April.
Eksian Warapon, 19, and a shipmate known only as Aow, 18, were each sentenced to 25 years in jail at Satun Provincial court, the British Embassy in Bangkok confirmed.
A third Burmese, a 17-year-old known as Ko, will be held in custody until he reaches 24.
The court heard that the Burmese had been stranded on a small island after jumping ship from a Thai fishing boat because they had spent eight months at sea without being allowed ashore.
But the island offered no food and very little water.
Warapon, 19, said that all three were starving when the Robertson's yacht, Mr Bean, anchored offshore.
"The boat was our only way of escape. We did not want to harm anyone but Mr Robertson put up a fight," he said.
Mrs Robertson, 57, who with her husband owned a chain of cafes in Sussex, managed to escape while her captors were trying to get Mr Bean's dingy to work.
They had packed the dinghy with goods including computers and mobile phones.
Mrs Robertson said afterwards: "But they had only got 30 yards when the engine began to splutter as I knew it would.
"They turned and started coming back, so I rushed to pull up the anchor... then I put the boat into full throttle and headed out to see leaving them behind.
"Then I saw them head to shore and I knew my ordeal was over and I was safe."
Mrs Robertson said at her home in St Leonards, Sussex: "I am relieved they did not get the death penalty. Twenty-five years in a Thai jail will be hell on earth. It's another step towards getting over Malcolm's death."
A formal inquest will be held in Sussex next month.
Sky News Nov. 29, 2009