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Sunday 3 March 2024

Woman cremates lover at tip; case of mistaken identity

Troubled journey to heaven

 Phaichit Khonkid shows how she cremated the body of Benyapa

A Khon Kaen woman killed her same-sex ex-lover of seven years and kept the body in the back seat of her car for 24 hours before finally cremating it in a rubbish dump, police say.

The unusual tale emerged last week as Khon Kaen provincial police, joined by their Waeng Noi district counterparts, nabbed Phaichit Khonkid, 39, for the Feb 12 death of her ex-lover, Benyapa Panphanprapa, 47.

Ms Phaichit, who denies murdering her, says Benyapa merely choked on her food as the pair were visiting Benyapa’s home in Samut Prakan. They were there alone when Benyapa, who had multiple health problems, had a fit, choked and died, she said.

However, rather than seek medical help, Ms Phaichit wrapped up the body and stowed it in her Honda Jazz for the return journey to Khon Kaen where the pair lived with her parents. She told police she was worried she would be blamed for her partner’s death.

Ms Phaichit said her partner accompanied her seven years ago when she moved from Bangkok, where they met, back to her family home in Khon Kaen to help look after her parents, who are themselves ill.

They sold vegetables in a local market though neither seemed to lack money. Benyapa’s aunt, Tim, 73, who asks why didn’t take her niece to hospital, said Benyapa owned a house, car, money, and even land in Khon Kaen where she moved to live with Ms Phaichit.

Back in Khon Kaen, Ms Phaichit hid the gruesome truth from her parents that she had brought Benyapa’s body back with her, claiming she had left her in Samut Prakan to visit her family.

She then set about plans to quietly dispose of the body. The night of her partner’s death, police say, she did an internet search on how to cremate a body with rubber tyres. In Khon Kaen, she went for a search and found a couple of old tyres in her village.
Phaichit Khonkid

On Feb 13, the day after her partner’s death, she also bought a gallon of petrol from a gas station on Waeng Noi-Chaiyaphum Road, while being careful not to get out of the vehicle in case someone saw the body.

Earlier that morning, she took the couple’s foster daughter, aged five, to school, though had her sit in the front seat, once again to avoid the body in the back. That afternoon, after picking up their daughter from school, she drove to the rubbish tip alone to dump the body.

Police say she piled the tyres on top of the body, set the pile alight and told Benyapa’s spirit: “Don’t go off or start to smell. Ascend to heaven like an angel.”

She drove home and did an internet search on how to sell property. She also recorded a video for YouTube in which she sang about how her relationship status had changed, and was now an “ex-girlfriend”.

The next day, she drove to Bangkok to see a wealthy businessman identified as Sia Kluai (no surname given), with whom she had struck up a relationship five years before. He had helped repay a mortgage she had taken out on her parents’ Khon Kaen place.

She told police she put the mortgage proceeds towards caring for Benyapa, who had suffered a stroke and was paralysed down her left side. Sia Kluai emerges as a potential key figure in this unusual drama, though Ms Phaichit insists her partner knew about their friendship and had no reason to feel jealous.

In Bangkok, Ms Phaichit asked Sia Kluai to help her do up her parents’ house, as it floods easily.

She returned to Khon Kaen and waited for the obliging Sia Kluai, who runs a business selling cooking gas appliances, to transfer her money to hire a tradesman. However, police caught up with her first, following the discovery of her partner’s charred body in the rubbish tip.

Back in Khon Kaen before her arrest, police say, she cleaned out her car, posting about it on social media. She removed the back seat on which the body had rested, and fumigated the vehicle.

On Feb 18, she posted to social media about her visit to a temple, and recorded another song. That was her last social media activity before her arrest on Feb 24.

Police say she told locals she was heading elsewhere to find work. Offering a theory for her partner’s demise, police say Ms Phaichit went straight 2-3 years ago, and told friends she was single, which led to problems with Benyapa.

The autopsy showed Benyapa had stab wounds in her back, though police said more work was needed into her exact cause of death. Police charged Ms Phaichit with theft, hiding a body, and premeditated murder.

While Benyapa’s family is suspicious about her death, Ms Phaichit’s parents say the public should not jump to conclusions. Ms Phaichit’s father, Udom, 63, said his daughter cared for him, his wife, and her ailing partner without complaint.

“I asked why she had taken on the burden of looking after Benyapa rather than finding someone who could look after her instead, but she wouldn’t answer,” he said.

Apart from the stroke, Benyapa, he said, also had a kidney problem, a growth in her uterus, and a gastric reflux problem.

“She choked and vomited on her food often, and my daughter would give her first aid,” he said.

As for her decision to dump the body in a pit and burn it, he said Benyapa had told Ms Phaichit that if she died first, she wanted her to hide the body, as she didn’t want any fuss.

Angry ex-lover shoots wrong target
Phongsak Saengpakdee was shot in the back of the head.

An Udon Thani man shot a supposed rival in the back of the head, mistaking him for his ex-girlfriend’s new lover, police say.

Non Song police in Muang district were looking for Phaithong, or Oros (no surname given), 35, after he allegedly shot Phongsak Saengpakdee, 37, as the victim was sitting with his wife by a hut in Ban Tat district.

Mr Phongsak was shot in the back of the head. His wife, Sirimas Nowarit, 33, was tending to her husband when rescue workers arrived.

They found 17-18 pellets embedded in the back of his head but miraculously, the victim was still able to talk.

Police believe suspect Oros mistook the couple for his ex-wife and her new man. In fact, they were mere friends of theirs, taking a break from a funeral they were attending nearby as they recharged their phone batteries.

The suspect earlier had tuned up at the funeral and argued with his ex-wife, Noi (no surname given), and her new man, and threatened to kill them, according to Ms Sirimas.

When the shooting occurred, Ms Sirimas was sitting with her husband while waiting for their phones to charge.

They had borrowed Noi’s motorbike for the ride to a hut nearby, which the shooter no doubt recognised.

Confounding things further for the shooter, Ms Sirimas had borrowed Noi’s jacket and was wearing it when Oros turned up and shot her husband.

“He shot Phongsak, who fell to the ground complaining of a headache,” she said.

“Oros no doubt tracked us down, but thought I was Noi, as I was wearing her jacket. We had also borrowed Noi’s bike.”

Oros took off on his motorbike after the shooting, but she recognised the orange jacket he was wearing.

Police also spoke to Noi at the home where the funeral was being held.

She said ex-boyfriend Oros, who had served time for theft, was jealous of her relationship with her new man.

“He turned up at the funeral the day before and harassed us but a local intervened.

“Last night he turned up with a gun, and now he has shot an innocent person,” she said. Police were looking for him.

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