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Suspected Serial Killer Jailed For One Murder, Indicted in Deaths of 4 Other Women In 2005

The Criminal Court has found Somkid Phumphuang, 45, a Nakhon Si Thammarat resident, guilty of intentionally killing Warunee Phimphabut, 25, a singer at a night entertainment establishment, on January 30, 2005. He has been sentenced to life imprison and has also been indicted in four other murder cases, all involving sex workers.

The Criminal Court has sentenced a suspected serial killer who allegedly murdered five sex workers to life imprisonment in connection with the death of one of the women.

Suspected serial killer Somkid Phumphuang, 45, is taken to the Criminal Court to hear his conviction for the murder of a singer who worked at a night venue in Mukdahan in January 2005.

The court yesterday found Somkid Phumphuang, 45, a Nakhon Si Thammarat resident, guilty of intentionally killing Warunee Phimphabut, 25, a singer at a night entertainment establishment in Mukdahan, on Jan 30, 2005.

Before checking into room No. 609 of the Ploy Palace Hotel on the morning of Jan 30, Somkid on the previous night had asked a security guard of the Saeng Tawan Cafe to find him a sex worker to sleep with.

The security guard testified in court he had at first introduced a woman named Nang to Somkid but Somkid did not like her, so he suggested Warunee, who was found dead in Somkid's room the following day.

Her body was found lying face down in a full bathtub with her arms tied behind her back. The court also found Somkid guilty of robbing the woman and making off with her belongings worth about 50,000 baht.

The court at first handed down the death penalty to Somkid for murdering the woman and gave him a three-year jail term for robbing her.

However, the court later reduced the sentence to life imprisonment, requiring him to repay 50,000 baht to the victim's relatives in compensation for the stolen belongings. This was because he had confessed to the charges during the police investigation.

Somkid later reversed his confession during the trial, saying the hotel room was booked for him by his boss but he had not used it that day.

But the court was convinced Somkid had been there because DNA test results on hair samples taken from the hotel room where the woman's corpse was found showed he had been present. He also failed to prove he really had stayed in another room at around the time when the woman was killed.

Somkid has also been indicted in four other murder cases in 2005.

He has been accused of killing Phongphan Sabchai, 34, on June 2 of that year in Lampang, Patcharee Amatanirun, 38, on June 11 in Trang, Porntawan Pungkhabut, 37, on June 18 in Udon Thani, and Sompong Pimpornpirom, 36, on June 20 in Buri Ram.

All of the victims were identified as massage parlour and sex workers and their personal belongings had also been stolen from the hotel rooms where their bodies were found. Somkid was arrested on June 29, 2005 at the house of his new wife in Chaiyaphum.

The lawyer representing Mr Somkid said he intended to appeal the Criminal Court's sentence.

"While detained during the trial in this case, Somkid was studying the legal documents concerning his other cases," said Chumpot Muadchana, the lawyer.

Source: Bangkok Post