Tributes left to murdered backpacker as alleged killer's mother says he deserves the death penalty

Stunned locals yesterday (April 9) left flowers were backpacker Miriam Beelte was beaten to death - as the killer’s mother said he deserves the death penalty.

Ronnakorn Romruen, 24, said he raped the holidaymaker on the island of Koh Si Chang, eastern Thailand, before battering her with a rock as she tried to escape.

He was arrested hours later after police found him at home watching TV and smoking a cigarette having washed the blood-stained clothes he had been wearing.

As the rubbish collector allegedly confessed to the brutal crime, stunned locals left floral tributes where the dead body of Miriam was found with her face smashed and underwear was thrown some 10 metres away.

They said they had never seen such violence and pleaded with tourists - the island’s main source of income - to keep visiting after hotel bookings suddenly evaporated.

Restaurant owner Rattiya Sangthong, 37, said: ''The bad guy has gone. Only the good guys are left. I’d like to plead to tourists to travel to Koh Si Chang as usual, because the bad guy is already under arrest.''

The alleged killer’s mother Nongluck Phosang, 43, yesterday went to meet her son at the Koh Si Chang, of Koh Sichang, police station. She told the police that she had no idea that her son had been arrested until she heard it on the news.

She said: ''My son and I didn’t live together, so I didn’t know much about what he usually did in the day. I only knew that he worked on a boat and collected rubbish from the beaches. He's a quiet guy who doesn’t talk much. He likes to stay alone at home watching TV and listening to music.''