Sunday, 12 March 2023

Fugitive loses heart, rescue tale goes awry, train mishap

Killer with manners

Samang’’s body was found in front of a garland shop.

Police in Nakhon Sawan were surprised when a blood-covered fugitive suspect wanted for killing his wife knocked politely at a police booth asking to give himself up.

Jaras Onnual, 61, stabbed to death his estranged wife, Samang Panchan, 38, at a garland shop in Tha Tako district on March 3 when she spurned his advances to get back together. Moments before the stabbing, Mr Jaras pulled a gun on her in front of shocked staff, but Samang, who worked at the shop, was able to wrest it away.

Mr Jaras stabbed Samang 15 times. He fled the shop following the brutal slaying, sparking a day-long police hunt complete with drones. They were not able to find Mr Jaras, who fled on foot from the Tha Tako-Nakhon Sawan Road shop where his wife died, across a farm and into a forest.

However, the rigours of his escape proved too much for Mr Jaras, who at 7am the next day gave himself up at a police booth in Khok Duea, Phaisali district, having trekked there overnight.
Jaras Onnual

He was exhausted and bleeding from his left hand, a legacy of his struggle with his wife. “He turned up, knocked at the door and asked to surrender, surprising the police. His body was still covered in dried blood from the attack,” one news report said.

Under questioning by Tha Tako police, Mr Jaras admitted killing his estranged wife, saying he could not accept that she was seeing someone else when they were still legally married.

A friend of the victim’s, Atcharaporn, 34, who works at the shop, said the pair split up 5-6 months ago. Mr Jaras hired a motorcycle driver to take him to the shop several times to plead with Samang, to no avail, she said.

He took her by the hand and they chatted in front of the shop. However, Samang said she was not prepared to reboot their 10-year marriage, and in fact taunted Mr Jaras, boasting she had now found someone new. Mr Jaras pulled out his gun, but his plucky wife wrested it away and gave it to Atcharaporn for safe-keeping.

Unhappily for his wife, Mr Jaras came armed with a backup plan, as Atcharaporn put it later. After losing the gun, he pulled a knife from a satchel bag he was wearing and stabbed his ex-wife frenetically. When she lay dead on the ground, he left the shop by the rear, climbed a wall and fled.

“On the third visit, everyone could see plainly that he was packing a gun,” Atcharaporn said. “The killer routinely abused Samang, especially when drunk.”

The victim’s mother, Manee Panchan, 68, backed that up, saying the suspect had threatened to kill the whole family. Samang, she said, had two children from a previous marriage, girls aged 17 and 12. “The fights started shortly after she met him. The last time he hurt her, he drew blood, and he has the nerve to come back and ask to start again!” she said in disgust.

“As her mother, I told Samang not to go back. He would still come to our home and threaten the family. I was not scared of him, but was worried the kids would suffer,” she said.

Mr Jaras’s daughter, identified in news reports as “B”, said Samang tricked her father into taking on a large farm debt.

“He took out a loan for hundreds of thousands at her request, only to quit with him. He felt cheated and deceived,” she said.

“After my Dad took on the debt, the two argued often, and Samang fled home. Dad tried to get her back many times, but my stepmother sent clips and Line messages challenging him.”

The day after his arrest, B turned up at the station to see him, and thank the deities for sparing his life.

When she heard about the killing, B asked local spirits to bring him back safely. B was worried her father would resist arrest and he would be shot in a so-called extra-judicial killing.

B was pleased to hear he gave himself up, and brought a head of pork, boiled chicken and a bottle of white spirits to redeem her vow before a shrine near the station.

Mr Jaras said he tried to give up while he was on the run, as he was worried about his safety.

“I spotted the police drones overhead looking for me. I waved, but no one saw me,” he said. Police charged him with murder.

Drinker’s fiery tale
Rattanaporn’s house amid the fire.
A Chon Buri man is recounting claims that his wife came to his aid during a fire at their home, leaving him barely injured but her with critical burns.

Sutthikun Rukkakul, 47, initially told the media he was sleeping inside when the fire broke out at their single-storey house on Khao Talo Road of Bang Lamung district on March 5.

His wife Rattanaporn Chaihakit, 43, fled the house first, realised her husband was still inside, and plunged back into the flames to rescue him, reports said, quoting neighbours and Mr Sutthikun himself, following his rescue.

He escaped with minor injuries but she sustained burns to 80 per cent of her body.

“Deeper than real love, this woman protected her husband with her own life,” one newspaper enthused, with the reporter unaware that Mr Sutthikun’s account was about to change dramatically.

The couple recycle scrap paper and plastic waste for sale, which they pile up around their house. The rubbish fed the flames when the fire started inside.

Speaking after the rescue, Mr Sutthikun said he was asleep when his wife woke him to say the place was on fire. She shielded his body with her own as they struggled out, he said.

A day later, however, when reporters returned to the scene, the real story emerged. Mr Sutthikun and a friend, Sek, 45, were in fact drinking outside when the fire started. His wife had gone inside to sleep.

Sek, who saved Rattanaporn’s life
The men drank until they too fell asleep. It was Sek who woke first when he heard the sound of Mrs Rattanaporn calling for help.

He duly woke her husband, but it was Sek who kicked in the door as he went to Mrs Rattanaporn’s aid. He carried out Mrs Rattanaporn, but she suffered burns on the way.

Mr Sutthikun, he said, was still in a “shocked state” at the front of the house, though he helped support his wife in the later stages.

Asked to explain the disparity, Mr Sutthikun said he gave the wrong information owing to the “chaotic scenes” following the rescue. “I know now that it was my friend who woke me and helped my wife,” he said.

Mrs Rattanaporn is still in a critical condition. Police are investigating the blaze, which they suspect started with an electrical short circuit.

Beware the freight train
The train which struck and killed Sor.
A Chon Buri woman was chatting to her boyfriend on the phone when a freight train struck and killed him.

Sor, 49, originally from Buri Ram, was out collecting lizards by the railway line and decided to make a video call to his girlfriend as he took a break.

He sat down by the side of the tracks near a crossing on Kaokilo Road in Sriracha district when he heard the train approach. A witness said he stood up in time but was hit by the train.

The impact of the collision sent Sor’s body tumbling down the bank.

Witness Kaew, originally from Cambodia, saw the accident and went to his aid. She ran over but found he was already dead.

She saw his phone nearby and noticed the video call he was making before the accident was still in progress.

“I told the person on the other end that he was dead and called for help,” she said.

His girlfriend, unnamed in news reports, said Sor had told her he was going out to collect lizards. Before the accident, he held up his phone so she could see the train approaching.

After that, the phone appeared to fall from his grasp.

“I could not see him, just the train. A woman picked up the phone, asked who I was, and urged me to get there in a hurry,” she said.

Police suspect Sor may have slipped as he tried to get out of the train’s path. They sent his body to hospital for an autopsy.

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