Village prepares to mourn Kirsty

The funeral of murdered British backpacker Kirsty Jones will take place near to her mid Wales home on Friday.

A service is to be held friends and family at St Bilo’s Church, Powys, three miles from the Tredomen farm where Ms Jones grew up.

Police in Thailand investigating the murder have carried out DNA tests on a third person.

They have now taken samples from a Thai rickshaw driver who is thought to have given Kirsty a lift on the night before her death.

Investigators in Chiang Mai are also expecting results from a second round of tests on the manager of the hostel where Kirsty, 23, was found dead on 10 August.

Hostel manager Surin Chanpranet, 47, had become the focus of the inquiry after a local tour guide was reportedly cleared of charges.

Narong Pojanathamrongpongse had taken Ms Jones trekking during her holiday, but has now been cleared of murder, Thai television said on Monday.

The guide burst into a press conference on Sunday and claimed he had been kidnapped and beaten by four men he believed to be police officers who wanted him to confess to the murder.

Liverpool University graduate Kirsty, 23, was killed shortly after she returned to the Aree hostel at about midnight on 10 August.

She was three months into a two-year round-the-world trip.

Police said last week they had identified the killer’s DNA from samples taken from Ms Jones’s body.

They have questioned and tested up to 10 different suspects, but are yet to lay any charges.

Concerns over progress

Kirsty’s family are said to be concerned about the progress of the investigation, and want her killer to be found.

The chief Thai investigator in the case has been transferred to a neighbouring province, following criticism that the police have dawdled in their investigation and have made injudicious and confusing remarks to the public.

Thai newspaper The Nation last week quoted an unnamed senior official at the British Embassy in Bangkok as saying: “The investigation has been a shambles.”

But police have defended their conduct.

Senior official Aram Chanpen said on Monday: “We have to depend totally on the scientific tests [without] firsthand witnesses to the crime.”

On Monday, an inquest was told Ms Jones’s body had lain undiscovered for 15 hours.

Pc Mike Eckley, from the Brecon coroner’s office, said Ms Jones was strangled within an hour of returning to the guesthouse.

“It would appear that… she was attacked almost as soon as she returned home.”