A MILLIONAIRE and his wife were both found dead in a pool on Thailand’s “death island” where two British backpackers were murdered.
Hotel owner Rakeshwar Sachathamakul, 59, and his wife Anshoo, 55, had planned to stay at a resort on Koh Tao island, where Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were allegedly murdered by a wealthy Thai local in 2014.
The couple, who were both Indian with Thai nationality, were both found floating dead in the swimming pool on Friday evening – the same day they checked in.
The couple’s son, 34-year-old Rashkwar Sachathamakul, said he returned from a walk on the beach to see his parents in the pool.
He called hotel staff for help, he said, but the couple were reportedly dead when they were pulled from the water.
Police have today said that CCTV cameras at the luxury hotel were “not functioning” on the day the wealthy couple died.
Police Major Jiraphob Puridech said the couple had been sitting at the pool bar, before going for a swim together, while their son walked outside on the beach.
“After the couple checked into the hotel, they spent time at the pool bar and then went in the swimming pool, while their son left to have a walk along Shark bay.”
“The CCTV in the area had not been working for several months due to lack of maintenance but officers are now collecting evidence from the cameras installed in other parts of the hotel,” he said.
“The pool was also supposed to be empty, because it was closed down due to Covid-19 restrictions.”
Police Major Jiraphob said the pool was supposed to be empty, because it was closed down due to Covid-19 restrictions.
There were no signs of struggle found around the scene, he said, with initial investigation suggesting the couple drowned due to the depth of the pool – which was up to 10ft deep at one end.
Rakeshwar was discovered lying near the pool ladder, while his wife was found in an area where the water was just one metre deep.
Police said that no hotel staff were in the area when the incident took place.
Police Major Jiraphob said the investigation would cover the depth of the pool and the couple’s health conditions, as well as possible foul play.
Police Colonel Wiracharn Khunchaikaew, another officer working on the case, said the couple may have not known about the depth of the swimming pool, which was used as a diving practise area before.
The couple's son Ratish said that his father had diabetes, hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea.
The bodies were taken to the Police General Hospital for a post mortem examination and confirmation of the health conditions.
Rakeshwar was the CEO and owner of the Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach hotel on the island of Phuket, and owned the Bangkapi Mansion apartment block in Bangkok and.
Thai ‘death island’s bloody role call of victims
Thai authorities say IT manager Ben Harrington, 32, broke his neck when he crashed into an electricity pylon on a night-time moped ride on the island in August 2012.
But his mum believes he was mugged as wallet and watch were missing.
A UK autopsy later discovered Ben died of a transected aorta — a rupture of the body’s largest artery — rather than a broken neck.
Nick Pearson, 25, was found floating in an island bay, at the foot of a 50ft drop on New Year’s Day 2014.
Despite claims of a fall, he had no broken bones. While police ruled out foul play, Nick's family, who say officers did not investigate a single witness, believe he was murdered.
Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk and David Miller, 24, of Jersey were bludgeoned to death with a wooden hoe as they walked back to their hotel room late at night.
Hannah was also raped in the attack in September 2014.
Frenchman Dimitri Povse, 29, was found hanged in a bungalow on the island on New Year's Day 2015.
His death was ruled as suicide but police could not explain why his hands were tied behind his back.
Later that month, graduate Christina Annesley, 23, was said to have died of natural causes after mixing antibiotics she was taking for a chest infection with alcohol. However, no toxicology report was conducted.
In March 2015 Russian tourist Valentina Novozhyonova, 23, vanished from her hostel on Koh Tao in mid-February – sparking a police search.
She had checked into the hostel on February 11 and was due to check out on February 16 – but failed to do so.
A few days later, staff checked her room to discover her mobile phone, passport and camera had all been left behind.
Bricklayer Luke Miller was found at the bottom of a swimming pool at the Sunset Bar at Sairee Beach in January 2016.
His family accused the Thai police of a cover-up.
Belgian backpacker Elise Dallemagne, 30, was found hanged in the hills on the island on April 28, 2017.
German Bernd Grotsch, 47, was found dead at his home deep in the jungle in the Mae Haad part of Koh Tao.
He was also the managing director of Wireform A.N. (Thailand) Co, a manufacturer of precision springs and plastic parts for the automotive and other industries.
The post mortem examination results are expected to be released in two weeks, while investigations are ongoing.
Koh Tao has been dubbed 'death island' following a string of high-profile mystery deaths of dozens of tourists.
The beautiful island is popular with tourists for holidaying and scuba diving but it is also well known for its influential and powerful local families, police corruption and mafia connections.
Brits Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk and David Miller, 24, of Jersey were bludgeoned to death with a wooden hoe in 2014 while staying on the island, as they walked back to their hotel room late at night.
Hannah was also raped in the attack.
In 2015, Burmese workers Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were sentenced to death for David and Hannah’s murders.
However, this case was mired in allegations of a cover-up and mishandled forensics.
The two men claimed they were tortured by the Royal Thai Police into confessing – and the Human Rights Watch has called the guilty verdicts “profoundly disturbing”.
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