Luke Miller death: Coroner says ‘no evidence’ British tourist was murdered

A coroner ruled  there was ”no evidence’’ a British tourist found dead in a hotel pool on notorious Thai holiday island was murdered.

Luke Miller, 26, had been partying with friends the night before his body was discovered in a cloudy swimming pool on ‘’death island’’ Koh Tao on January 8 last year.

His family had been battling to find out what happened to the builder from Newport, Isle of Wight, amid fears he was attacked.

Luke Miller, 26, had been partying with friends the night before his body was discovered in a cloudy swimming pool on ‘’death island’’ Koh Tao on January 8 last year

Luke Miller, 26, had been partying with friends the night before his body was discovered in a cloudy swimming pool on ‘’death island’’ Koh Tao on January 8 last year

But a coroner at an inquest into Luke’s death recorded an open verdict and praised Thai police for a ‘’very thorough report’’.

Her Majesty’s Coroner for the Isle of Wight Caroline Sumeray said there was ‘’no evidence’’ Luke died as a result of an accident, a fight or that he had been unlawfully killed.

She said: ”It has been suggested this was a cover-up by the Thai authorities but there has been a very thorough police report.

”I can only record a conclusion based on the evidence before me, I cannot speculate about what may have happened.’’

Luke flew to Thailand with friend James Gissing on Dec 22 for a five-week ”holiday of the lifetime’’.

He posted several entries on social media about his trip, including full moon celebrations and a New Year’s Eve party.

In one of the last posts, Luke said that he was “living life to the full”.

But he was found dead in a pool at Sunset Bar on Sairee Beach, on the same island where two British backpackers, Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were bludgeoned to death in Septemer 2014.

A number of other tourists including a number of Brits have been killed in unexplained circumstances on the island. Most recently Russian woman Valentina Novozhenova, 23, disappeared earlier this year and her body has never been found.

Luke’s friend James told the inquest at Newport Coroner’s Court that local police said Luke was seen to be assaulted at another bar the night before he was found dead and they were treating the case as murder.

But coroner Ms Sumeray said the claim could not be verified as it had not been confirmed the source worked for the Thai police.

She said the contact later appeared to backtrack on the claims that Luke had been fighting or was murdered.

Mr Gissing said in a statement he believed ”police were covering up as it was the death of another foreigner on Koh Tao”.

The hearing also heard how a witness described Luke banging heads with another swimmer but the coroner said there were no further details about this.

According to a post mortem examination in Thailand, Luke had several small bruises on his face and legs. The report found he died of head injuries and drowning.

While blood tests found alcohol and traces of the drug Ritalin in Luke’s system. A Home Office examination laster described the cause of death as ”unascertained’’.

Luke’s mother Sara Cotton wept after the verdict and vowed to continue the search for the truth.

She said: ”We are as satisfied as we could be with the verdict on the basis of the evidence the coroner had before her.

”But there are far too many inconsistencies in the police reports.We know what happened and we will continue to fight for justice. Luke was unlawfully killed.”

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