Grandmother of British teen found dead in Thailand forest believes he was lured there to be murdered
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The grandmother of the British teenager found dead in Thailand believes he was lured into the forest to be murdered.
They had gone for a ride in Lampang province, but neither returned home afterwards.
Police said they received a report the next morning that the teenage boy had been found dead in a grove in the Ban Than district, with his head covered in blood after appearing to have been repeatedly hit with a blunt object.
Officers found a smartphone charger and wallet in his bag but no phone or money, suggesting that he might have been robbed.
Ben’s girlfriend Yam, also 16, has now been found safe, and has been ruled out as a person of interest by police.
Police are seeking a second teen, 16-year-old Suraphltchaya Khamsa, who officers believe was romantically linked to Ben and is thought to have been the last person to see him.
Police Major General Sampawapol said: “Suraphltchaya's nickname was Ping Pong. She also had a close romantic relationship with the deceased.
"She is still missing and we are actively searching for her. She was the last person to see Ben.
“A suspect has been apprehended who had known the victim for a long time. He denies having any involvement in the death. "However, we believe he is involved and it is connected to drug dealing in the area.”
His grandmother, Lilian Graham, has now said that she believes Ben - who has dual nationality - was persuaded to go to the forest where he was murdered.
Speaking to The Daily Mail from the family home in Eastbourne, East Sussex, she said: “Ben was with a girl and they went to the forest to meet a man. But something must have happened. And the man killed Ben. They don't know what has happened to the girl.”
Graham added: “It's been a real shock. We are all devastated. Ben's father Steve is going to Thailand tonight.
“I wanted to go out there with him to support him. But he wouldn't let me. He said the flight was too long and it would be too upsetting.”
Graham also explained how Ben’s parents met, with his dad Steve – her son – meeting his mum Ooy while holidaying in Thailand.
She said: “Steve met Ben's mum Ooy when he was in Thailand on holiday with friends. She became pregnant and Steve went back many times.
“I went out to visit them as well. I really love it out there. But they lived too far apart and sadly their relationship didn't work out. "But Steve and me really loved Ben. He was really special. A real character.”
Police are not yet ruling any potential motive in the killing, saying it was 'unclear whether it was a robbery' even though the 16-year-old's phone and cash were not found among his belongings.
Police Colonel Sittisak Singtongla, superintendent of the Mae Tha Police, said: "The station received a notification at 10.15am that a deceased person was found in the undergrowth.
"The investigating team went to the area and found the victim with blood stains all over his face. The face and head were found to have been beaten with a hard object until swelling and bruising was caused.
"There was also a deep wound in his face. The body has been taken to hospital for an autopsy.
"We are currently tracking down individuals close to the victim, including his female companion. She is a key figure in this case since she is the last person to see him alive."
LADbible has contacted the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office for comment.