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Burmese 'pirate' murderers of cruising sailor jailed for 25 years

by BW Studios on 30 Nov 2009
Malcolm Robertson swimming with his grandchildren in Phuket SW
While it is worth remembering that no cruising sailor has lost their lives at the hands of Somali pirates (one Frenchman has been killed by friendly fire from French commandos), three hungry young Burmese 'fishermen' have now found justice for murdering a roving British sailor in Thailand in March this year.

Eksian Warapon, 19, Aow, 18, and Ko, 17, bludgeoned cruising sailor Malcolm Roberston to death when he tried to throw them off his 44ft yacht which was anchored off Koh Dong, a Thai island about 45 miles west of the Satun province near the border with Malaysia. They then threw his body overboard before raiding the yacht supplies. (See http://www.sail-world.com/Cruising/Burmese-fishermen-murder-British-sailor-in-Thailand/55130!Sail-World_story)

They had apparently fled from Burma by jumping off a fishing boat and were hungry and looking for food. The three pleaded guilty to the attack. The two adults were jailed for 25 years by the Satun provincial court, and the 17-year-old is to remain in custody until he is 24. Their sentences were reduced by half because they pleaded guilty.

The Robertsons set off on a round-the-world voyage from Eastbourne marina in June 1998 in their boat called Mr. Bean named after their business back in Britain. They had already sailed Mr Bean around the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean, then across the South Pacific to Australia and then up to Thailand.

Linda Roberton was tied up for about 10 hours during the raid that prompted an intensive week-long search for her husband's body.

After the verdict she told the Guardian, 'I do hope the time they spend in jail will help them reflect and realise the heinous crime they committed. I also believe they were victims themselves.

'I don't think they had any plan. The fact that they didn't kill me, which they could quite easily have done, shows some compassion for me.'

The three were arrested as they tried to escape in the yacht's dinghy, about half a mile away.

Linda Robertson had minor injuries and detailed her ordeal in nearly 10 hours of testimony in Satun in March. She told authorities that while she was tied up Ko had stroked her feet and given her food and water. 'He said sorry many times and gave me hope that I would live,' she said.

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