'Murder babes' sentenced to 127 years for murdering colleague and chopping up her body, in crime that rocked a nation
The three women, dubbed the "murder babes", were convicted of chopping up their karaoke bar colleague, 23-year-old Warissara Klinjui, in May 2017 in northern Thailand
One of Thailand's most sensational murder cases came to a close on May 10 after three women were sentenced to 127 years behind bars for murdering their colleague and chopping up her body, the Daily Mail reported.
The three women, dubbed the "Thai murder babes", were convicted of killing and chopping up their karaoke bar colleague, 23-year-old Warissara Klinjui, in May 2017 in Khon Kaen, northern Thailand.
They were identified as 25-year-old Preeyanuch Nonwangchai, 28-year-old Apiwan Satayabundit, and 26-year-old Kawita Ratchada.
According to reports, the victim had an argument with Nonwangchai and Ratchada, after which the two women strangled her to death. They then called Satayabundit and one more friend to help cut up Klinjui's body before they buried the pieces in a shallow grave.
Authorities investigating the case quickly linked the trio to the case, but by then they had fled to neighboring Laos.
The murderers then looked for work in the massage parlours there to avoid capture.
According to the testimonies in the case, the women had physically assaulted Klinjui after which, Nonwangchai put a plastic bag over the victim's head and strangled her to death.
This wasn't where the case stopped because the most shocking part of it was what happened after.
The murder of the 23-year-old became national news, and in a twisted perspective many Thais were rooting for the killers. There was some major media frenzy around the case and some reports hailed the murderers for "having a pure heart and a sense of responsibility".
Many people in the country were obsessed with the three killers and this led to the immense sales of keychains, posters, and many more novelty products all in the "honor" of the suspects.
There has also been a rash of pictures that have appeared in the media off late which feature the suspects laughing, smoking, and posing with police officers for selfies.
Images of the women putting on makeup, wearing night masks, and holding up peace signs show just how remorseless these killers were and the special treatment they were getting.
In absolutely no time at all, the three murderers were in every publication and news outlet.
The murder of Warissara Klinjui
Klinjui worked in the same bar as Nonwangchai and Ratchada. The two suspects along with some other women working in the bar used to dabble in a bit of prostitution from time to time.
Nonwangchai and Klinjui started getting into regular tiffs because the victim had borrowed $1,500 from the suspect and had not paid it back in time. The real trouble started, however, when Klinjui reported Nonwangchi's husband to the police for dealing drugs and other related offences.
Initially, it was Klinjui's husband, Sakchai Bafthongdee, who was considered a suspect in her murder because he was away from home often; but he was found out to be innocent. He was even shocked when he found out about the double life his wife was leading before she died.
According to Bafthongdee, Klinjui had told him that she was living a "quiet life with her mother".
The reality was that she was working as a hostess in a bar and that she was in a steady relationship with an old female classmate of hers.
CCTV footage showed Klinjui getting into a car on May 23, 2017, and this was the last time she was seen alive.
Nonwangchai and Ratchada were the ones who had picked up the victim in the rented car on the pretext of discussing a new job opportunity with her. Nonwangchai, however, lost her temper and this was what caused her to asphyxiate Klinjui to death with a plastic bag that she had with her from an earlier trip to a convenience store.
The suspect told authorities that the plan was just to rough up Klinjui and scare her; but while the assault was taking place, the victim allegedly shouted, "If I survive, then you die."
This infuriated Nonwangchai even more and she suffocated Klinjui to death.
After they committed the murder, they stopped at a hardware store and bought a saw. They took Klinjui's corpse to a hotel room where, according to their driver Wasin Namprom, Nonwangchai chopped the body up, wrapped the parts up in garbage bags and stuffed them into bins. The suspects then dug a shallow grave and buried Klinjui's remains in it.
The body was buried in the Khon Kaen's Khao Suan Kwang district and the suspects had used steel sheets to cover the grave.
Unfortunately for them, they forgot to account for the bad smell that comes from decomposing bodies and this led the authorities to the grave. The police were able to identify Klinjui because of her distinctive tattoos.
Just before the arrest of the suspects, more salacious details of the ringleader, Nonwangchai, started emerging; her lifestyle added fuel to the already roaring media flame.
It has been reported that she would charge men up to 5,000 baht a night for her sexual services and she also made more money on the side as a web-camera model. Nonwangchai comes from a rural community and her illegal activities gave her the sufficient funds to be able to get cosmetic surgery to look the way she wanted to.
She also used methamphetamine regularly and used to have drug-fueled sex sessions with her clients and other women.
The "Murder Babes" turned themselves in to the authorities in June 2017 in Myanmar and they were flown back to Thailand for the case.
All of them were charged with premeditated murder, theft, concealing a corpse, and overstaying their visas. Unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, Nonwangchai was not charged with one drug-related offence even though there was evidence.
Nick-named the 'butcher Praew', Nonwangchai and Ratchada were initially given life in prison by the provincial court of Khon Kaen Court on May 10 but the punishment was reduced to 34 years because they cooperated and confessed.
Satayabundit was found guilty of conspiracy to murder, destroying and hiding the body, and consuming methamphetamine. She was handed 33 years and nine months in jail.
Their male friend and driver of the car, 22-year-old Wasin Namprom, was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder, conspiring to destroy and hide the body, and conspiring in theft—leading to a sentence of 23 years, four months and 20 days.
All arrested accused were ordered to pay 1.07 million baht ($33570) to support Klinjui's family and 100,000 baht ($3138) for her funeral.
A fifth defendant, Jidarat Promkhun, 23, was sentenced to one year for receiving the victim's stolen phone to sell.