Police Sergeant Somchai Wisetsingh whose death sentence for the murders of backpackers Vanessa Arscott and Adam Lloyd in Kanchanaburi was commuted to 50 years nine years ago has had his sentence reduced by 32 years.

At the moment he stands to serve only 18 years, but further reducations are expected. He was convicted of murdering Adam then convicted of murdering Vanessa to cover up the first murder.

Wisetsingh first gunned down Adam Lloyd, 24, on the River Kwai Road in Kanchanaburi in September 2004, then he got in his car and ran over Lloyd’s girlfriend Vanessa,23.

As she crawled away and tried to support herself on a pylon by the side of the road he then killed her execution style – with bullets to the head, neck and chest.

Wisetsingh who had been named Outstanding Policeman of the Year in Kanchanaburi Province the previous year then fled to the Thai Burmese border but he was handed back to Thai police soldiers of the Karen National Liberation Front.

Vanessa , a beautiful and outgoing graduate of psychology gunned down execution style by a Thai
policeman as she was all set to enjoy life.

He had befriended Vanessa and Lloyd at his S & S restaurant in Kanchanaburi. It is believed on the night of the murder there was an argument among the three of them after Wisetsingh had followed Vanessa to the rest rooms.

Vanessa left the restaurant and Adam Lloyd and Wisetsingh were involved in a fight  in which the police senior sergeant, who played an active role in former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s ‘War on Drugs’* , took a beating.

Adam Lloyd & Vanessa

Before fleeing he received treatment hospital for a broken rib and black eye.

Wisetsingh was in 2004 sentenced to two sentences of 50 years after his death sentences were commuted because he had an exemplary record and because he had co-operated with the police investigation.

In fact he had not co-operated with the police investigation. He was in consistent denial of the facts claiming a drugs informant  called ‘Mr Ya’ had carried out the murders because he was angry about the attack on him. Wisetsingh could not supply any contact details for the drugs informer.

He also claimed he hardly knew Vanessa or Adam, but from pictures found on the couple’s camera it was clear he had befriended them in his restaurant.

Picture taken at Wisetsingh’s restaurant on the fateful night

And journalists covered his trial were pepper sprayed by his colleagues when they tried to get close and take his photograph.

Wisetsingh was prosecuted on forensic evidence. While many locals witnessed the shooting which was near another popular restaurant they admitted they were scared to give evidence against him in court.

Wisetsingh is currently being held in Khao Bin Security Prison near Ratchaburi, Western Thailand.

According to the Department of Corrections Wisetsingh’s currently release date is May 24 2022. Just two years ago the Department said he was due for release in 2037.

It is expected that he will benefit from further reductions of sentence for  various reasons.

Grieving father Graham Arscott with his daughter Alyssa, by the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi

Vanessas’s father Graham Arscott, 66, said today he was ‘shocked’at the reducations in sentence.

‘Can this be true?’

She was executed ‘Bang Bang Bang’

Murders on the River Kwai


  1. Did no one with knowledge of this country tell the bereaved parents that the murderer of their children would be out, at most, after 10 years imprisonment?
    Clearly, the British embassy is seemingly as clueless as they are impotent.
    Thailand's police force was not set up as a constabulary protecting the public and maintaining law and order in a fashion one from the West might recognise. It was primarily a para-military border force used as a tool by a succession of political leaders to enforce their diktat, often in competition with the Army.
    They have a peculiar code of conduct that preserves an autonomy and immunity from what may pass as the prevailing rule of law.
    Local loyalties, obligations and alliances within the institution outweigh any notion of public justice. As a metaphor, the police force very much defines Thai society with its complex relationships founded upon patronage. Bonds arising from this social structure giving form to their lives are stronger than any abstract notion of what we understand as the " common good ".
    Hence this loyal policeman, highly regarded by his peers, will ultimately benefit from a system that he has supported throughout his career. It's the way things are here and foreigners will just have to accept it as the reality.
    Thailand is unique but it still is very much an Asian country where death is not such an important feature of life as it is in Western cultures.
    An eye for an eye retribution is simply not part of their culture but certainly forgiveness and rehabilitation is very much an integral factor in their penal code for all. It's just that policemen in the pecking order of things here get just that bit more forgiveness……

  2. I agree with your sentiments about sentencing but it is a nonsense to imply any blame on the sentence to the British embassy. You use the word impotent without realising it seems that Thailand is a sovereign state and Britain has no more juridiction here than the Thais have in London. I have said before that embassies – not just the UK – could do more to warn and influence but that is rather their limit. say that the British embassy is impotent. The police have not always followed the political masters in Thai history. It is not like the UK system in the UK whee the police service is responsible to the Home Office, and thus ultimately elected by the voters. An eye for an eye is also not nowadays a western concept. Mureder is not a capital offense in the UK nor in fact in most countries.

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