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Pattaya Daily News

11 August 2010 :: 13:08:28 pm 34971

British Pattaya Expats found Guilty of Torturous UK Murder

Two British expats previously residing in Pattaya have been found guilty of the 2007 murder of a partially disabled housewife in the United Kingdom. One of the offenders, the ex-husband of the victim, had hired a fellow expat to commit the murder in order to claim on the lucrative life insurance policy of his ex-wife.
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United Kingdom, the 10th of August 2010: The partially disabled victim, Mrs. Sharon Birchwood [52], was found strangled and bound in her Surrey home by her former husband, Mr. Graham Birchwood [54], on the 7th of December 2007.

Following extensive police investigations, officers ascertained that Mr. Birchwood had actually colluded with another British national, Mr. Paul Cryne [62], in the murder of his ex-wife, looking to claim on her lucrative life insurance policy which had him as the sole beneficiary.

Both Mr. Cryne and Mr. Birchwood had been members of the Pattaya expat community prior to the murder and had incurred significant debts as a result of living a lavish lifestyle and various business failings in Thailand. Unwilling to draw attention to himself, Mr. Birchwood engaged Mr. Cryne, a former bodyguard and current Guinness underwater swimming record holder, to commit the murder for approximately Bt1.5 million.

The pair flew to the United Kingdom in October of 2007, 2 months prior to the murder, staying at the house of Mr. Birchwood’s mother, also in Surrey. Two days prior to the murder, Mr. Cryne left, giving the impression he was going to visit friends in the West Country before remaining in Surrey and murdering Mrs. Birchwood. Merely three-hours after the murder, Mr. Cryne was on a flight back to Thailand from London’s Heathrow Airport.

The court heard how Mr. Cryne used electrical cord, repeatedly wrapped around the victim’s head, with a small metal handle used to tighten the cord, acting as a tourniquet. Her wrists and ankles had also been bound with electrical cables.

Reportedly, little evidence was left at the scene by Mr. Cryne, a self-confessed “street fighter” from Manchester and later Devon, however investigating officers eventually linked fingerprints left at the home of Mr. Birchwood’s to traces of DNA found at the murder scene, tracking him back to Thailand. He was later arrested and extradited by Thai authorities who found him residing back in the seaside resort city of Pattaya.

Public records show that Mr. Cryne had previously been jailed for seven years in 1972 for holding his girlfriend captive (hostage), while he was also implicated in a Thai murder in 2003, but was later acquitted of all charges.

Despite being divorced, Mrs. Birchwood, who was in ill health and walked with the use of a stick, was reportedly devoted to her ex-husband. The couple had been separated for 20 years, but this was not disclosed to many people and she had also kept up the pretence to her family and friends.

Mr. Birchwood, who stood to gain approximately Bt24 million from the death of his ex-wife, had incurred approximately Bt7.5 million in debt in Thailand and saw the calculated murder of his ex-wife as the only way out of his money troubles.

In June 2009, Mr. Birchwood was sentenced to life in prison with minimum term of 32 years for the murder of his ex-wife. Mr. Cryne is due to be sentence today following the recent completion of his trial, a similar sentence is expected to be given by the magistrate.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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