19th May 2024
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Trial starts in Thailand of Spanish actor’s son over killing of Colombian surgeon

A court in Thailand started a murder trial on Tuesday of the son of a well known Spanish actor accused of killing and dismembering a Colombian surgeon on a popular tourist island.

Daniel Sancho Bronchalo, 29 [main file image] was indicted by prosecutors in October over the death of 44-year-old Edwin Arrieta Arteaga, whose remains were found stuffed in plastic bags at a landfill on Koh Pha Ngan, an island famous for its rave-style ‘full moon parties’.

The pair were reported by Spanish media to have connected on Instagram in 2022, with Sancho travelling to Thailand on 31 July as a tourist, where they met.

Lawyer Juan Gonzalo Ospina Serrano, who represents Arrieta’s family, told reporters at the Koh Samui Provincial Court before the trial that the family trusts Thai prosecutors to deliver justice.

‘They are grateful and hope that Thai law is forceful and that the truth can be told,’ he said.

The charges against Sancho include premeditated murder, concealment of a body and destruction of other people’s documents, which is related to the alleged damaging of the Arrieta’s passport. Sancho pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder and destruction of documents but pleaded guilty to hiding the victim’s body.

The charge of premeditated murder carries a possible death penalty. The maximum sentence for damaging other’s documents carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of approximately €2,750. The concealment or damaging of a body carries a year in prison and a €550 fine.

Sancho’s lawyer Apichart Srinual declined to answer reporters’ questions.

The Thai public prosecutor who filed the case against Sancho also declined to speak to the media at the court.

Sancho was driven to the court in a closed car and was not visible to reporters waiting outside. Sancho’s father, Spanish actor Rodolfo Sancho, also came to the court but declined to comment.

Sancho, a chef, was arrested in August after the remains of Arrieta were discovered at the landfill.

Police said Sancho came in to report a missing person and was subsequently detained. He later reportedly confessed to killing and dismembering Arrieta and dumping the body parts in the landfill and the sea, though he denied that his action was premeditated, according to police.

The trial is expected to last until mid-May, with scores of witnesses due to appear in court.

In 2017, another Spaniard, Artur Segarra, was convicted of murdering a businessman in Bangkok and discarding dismembered body parts into the Chao Phraya River.

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