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Reenactment today of the moment the knife struck Michelle Smith

Phuket Tourist Tells: Why I Wanted to Punch Michelle's Killer

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
PHUKET: Australian tourist Tony Clarke blamed anger today for his attempt to punch one of the confessed killers of Perth travel agent Michelle Smith.

As a chaotic reenactment of the crime got underway today outside the Katathani Beach Resort ina quiet Phuket bay, Mr Clarke lunged at the two men and had to be restrained by police.

''I wanted to punch the guy,'' he told Phuketwan later. ''The police held me back. It was just a sense of being angry and shocked.''

Mrs Smith, 60, was knifed in the heart and left to die in the street when a bag snatch went wrong last Wednesday about 10.30pm.

Following standard procedure, Phuket police organised a reenactment today at the crime scene but a crowd of more than 200 gathered and locals and tourists yelled insults at the killers.

Most of the Thai objectors were angry because the killers were not from Phuket. Many people fear the Phuket tourist industry could suffer as a result of the murder.

But Mr Clarke and other Australians said today Mrs Smith's killing was a random crime and that Phuket was too pleasant a destination to suffer because of the tragedy.

Mr Clarke, from Perth, said: ''Being a small world we knew people who knew Michelle. I just had a sense of being angry and shocked.

''You get your bag snatchers most everywhere, you get your little bits of crime, but it's different when somebody is murdered. When you're a tourist you like to feel safe wherever you go in the world.

''Everybody's quite down at the moment, and angry. But we've had a good time, staying at the Katathani. I love being here, the people are brilliant.''

A woman from Australia added: ''It's so tragic but it wouldn't put me off coming back.''

Grant Belsar from Melbourne was also among the crowd of onlookers. ''Noone wants to have anything like this happen,'' he told Phuketwan. ''But the police have done a wonderful job.''

Mr Belsar said he was in a group of 16 staying at the Katathani. Many of Phuket's visitors at this time of the year are Australians escaping winter.

''The people here have looked after us very well,'' Mr Belsar said. ''When we heard the news, travelling from Singapore, we had family call from overseas to say an Australian woman had been killed. Everyone worries.

''But since we've been here we've been very relaxed, you've got people all over the place and we haven't really needed to be concerned. We'll enjoy our 10 days here.''

The two accused are likely to be remanded in Phuket Provincial Court tomorrow. They will reappear every 12 days until the prosecutor is ready to proceed. Bail is unlikely to be granted.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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So, presumably the Aussie has been arrested for assaulting the alleged killers? (confessed or not, no trial yet.)

Posted by Georgian on June 26, 2012 15:28

Editor Comment:

Two comments, two different tags, Geordian . . . how can we believe anything you say is said with sincerity?

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Great work Thai Police, Excellent coverage from Phuketwan...You guys covered the event so well, better than any main stream news from the world..Thanks for your efforts...

Posted by Jack on June 26, 2012 18:58


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