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Swedish murder suspect in custody in Thailand

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17:40 CET+01:00
Murder suspect Kenneth Eriksson made a dramatic public appearance in Pattaya, Thailand earlier today. The 40 year old Swede, accused of killing a local prostitute, was led through the streets by police, handcuffed and with armed officers protecting him from vengeful locals.

The purpose of the exercise was to show investigators what happened on the night of 15th February, when Eriksson is alleged to have beaten and stabbed a woman to death in his hotel room. According to police sources, Eriksson burst into tears when he came to the supposed scene of the crime. Photographer Tophong Tomechai told Expressen:

"He was extremely shaken and almost completely broke down."

Police lieutenant Jongrak seemed satisfied with what he learned:

"Now we've got a better picture of what happened."

Eriksson admits killing the woman, but claims she attacked him first, stabbing him in the foot with a piece of glass in the shower. However, he says he has no idea how the fight started. The woman's body was found on Friday 18th February on a piece of wasteland in central Pattaya, about 300 metres from the hotel.

Eriksson told Expressen before his arrest yesterday:

"I don't know how things got out of hand. What can I say? Presumably it was because I'd been drinking and taken amphetamines. I don't know why the argument started in the first place."

Eriksson, who comes from Kramfors in Ångermanland and is a former Foreign Legionaire and ice hockey referee, had lived at the hotel since August last year. Mikael Nyman from Orust was another Swedish guest at the hotel and said that Eriksson frequently took prostitutes back to the hotel:

"He was always coming to the hotel with new women."

Eriksson was caught on CCTV cameras dragging the body in a black sports bag through the reception to a waiting taxi. The bag was so heavy that he had to ask a passer by to help him throw the bag over a wall when he dumped the body.

Nyman said that Eriksson reacted strangely when the news came through that a body had been discovered not far from the hotel. Later that day he left the hotel with a rucksack containing clothes.

Eriksson spent two weeks on the run from the Thai authorities, who came looking for him the next day. It seems he took the bus to nearby Bangkok and spent the majority of the time there.

During those two weeks, it has emerged that he received e-mails from the Thai police, promising good treatment if he gave himself up. He's also said to have read appeals from his father in the Expressen. Lennart Eriksson had pleaded:

"Give yourself up, Kenneth. Don't make your situation worse."

Kenneth Eriksson presented himself to officials at the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok yesterday. Two hours later he was in police custody.

He's now being held at Pattaya police station, awaiting trial. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to death, although such sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment.

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