Spaniard gets death for murder, dismemberment

Autur Segarra Princep, 38, is taken to the Bang Kwang Central Prison on Friday after the Criminal Court sentenced him to death for the murder of his compatriot, David Bernat, 41, consultant to a foreign firm, in January last year. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The Criminal Court on Friday sentenced a Spanish man to death for the murder of a fellow Spaniard whose body parts were found in the Chao Phraya River in January last year.

Autur Segarra Princep, 38, was given the death sentence for the premediated murder of David Bernat, 41, consultant to a foreign firm. The court also ordered him to return more than 730,000 baht he stole from his compatriot to his victim’s family.

The defendant was on Friday taken from the Bangkok Remand Prison, where has been detained for the 14 months since his arrest, to hear the judgement.

He was apprehended in the Cambodian coastal town of Sihanoukville and handed over to Thai police on Feb 8. He has kept denying any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors indicted him on charges of premediated murder, kidnapping, body concealment, torture and theft  under the Criminal Code’s Sections 289 (4), 199 and 310. 

Segarra ws convicted of murdering Bernat, dismembering the body and dumping the parts into the river. Human body parts belonging to the victim were found at several spots along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani on Jan 30 last year.

The prosecution case was that Segarra forcibly detained his Spanish friend in his room at the PG Rama IX condominium in Huay Khwang district and tortured him to make him reveal an ATM pin number between Jan 20 and Jan 30 last year.

Segarra stole 734,940 baht from Bernat and forced him to take drugs until he passed out. Then he covered the victim’s head with a plastic bag and suffocated him the court heard.

He put the body in a freezer before using an angle grinder to dismember the frozen corpse. He packed the body parts in black plastic bags, took them on a motorcycle to the Chao Phraya River, and tossed them in. 

The defendant pleaded not guilty in court. He insisted that he stayed at the PG condominium and had no links with the dead Spaniard.

The prosecutors presented no witnesses to the murder. The court ruled footage from a closed-circuit television camera, accounts given by an apartment housekeeper, who was Segarra’s girlfriend, and forensic evidence including DNA tests on blood stains and fingerprints on an electric grinder that matched Segarra’s and the victim’s were strong enough to indict him.

The court found that Segarra committed the crime, intending to benefit by tens of millions of baht.

A Spanish woman friend of Segarra, a Catholic priest and members of the Spanish media were present in the court to hear the judgement.

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