A British millionaire and his wife were on Tuesday found buried in their garden in Thailand, as police revealed three hitmen had confessed to murdering them for just £400 (R7 500) each.
Alan Hogg, 64, was blasted with a shotgun near his swimming pool while his Thai wife Nott, 61, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in the garage – allegedly on her brother’s orders.
Their bodies were discovered five days after they were reported missing, buried six feet deep next to a duck pond at their dream retirement mansion in Phrae, northern Thailand.
Warut Satchakit, 63, was arrested after being accused of ordering the killings in a feud with his sister over money.
He fell under suspicion after being seen on CCTV stealing the couple’s brand new white Ford Ranger pick-up truck from their home. It was recovered 300 miles away having been sold.
He admitted the theft but denied any involvement in the murders.
But three Thai men, not yet named, told police he had paid them 50,000 baht (£1,175) to kill the couple. The Hoggs married in Edinburgh in 1986 and have a Manchester-based daughter, Robyn, 31, who flew to Thailand after her parents were reported missing last Thursday.
Neighbours in Phrae described Mrs Hogg as ‘the most beautiful woman in the town’ and said retired businessman Mr Hogg, who grew up in Edinburgh, was a very friendly ‘millionaire’ who often helped them.
The former construction engineer built the couple’s sprawling three-storey retirement villa himself. It features an outdoor pool with changing rooms, a snooker table, and a summer house. Yesterday morning, after a six-day search involving sniffer dogs, police used an excavator to dig an area next to the pond in the gated home’s 32-acre grounds.
Villagers covered their noses to mask the smell as officers unearthed the bodies, both still wearing shoes. Bloodstains – with signs someone had tried to wipe them away – were found in the pool changing rooms.
Major General Sanpat Praputsra, of Phrae police, said Mr Hogg’s brother-in-law had been arrested on suspicion of masterminding the double murder, adding: ‘Three suspects were traced from forensic checks on the [stolen] car.
‘They have confessed to the murder ... They used a shotgun to kill Alan and said they buried him near the ducks. The villains used a hammer to murder his wife in the garage.
‘Three people were involved with the instructions that it was their duty to kill the targets.
‘They said that the victims were then buried in the garden.’
Earlier he had said: ‘The issue is likely to be a long-standing conflict within the family.
‘We cannot find any other situations that are likely to have caused this. The brother-in-law had problems with money and there were family issues.’
Phrae police commander Colonel Manas Kerdsukho added: ‘The motive for the killings was a long-running internal family conflict, feuds and property.’
From his house in Edinburgh, Mr Hogg’s cousin Derek Jardine said: ‘I knew things were bad but I didn’t think it was that bad.’
Mr Hogg, who was born in Zambia, arrived in Thailand several years ago having worked as an offshore construction engineer in Australia. He was also involved with several businesses in the UK and until recently was a director of a laundry company in Bonnyrigg, Edinburgh.
The couple’s daughter, a film production director, was alerted to her parents’ disappearance by concerned friends in Phrae.