THE mothers of two men sentenced to death for the murder and sexual assault of an Essex University student in Thailand are set to beg for the killers’ pardon.

Burmese pair Wai Phyo and Zaw Lin had denied killing and raping Hannah Witheridge and killing fellow backpacker David Miller on the resort island of Koh Tao.

Their battered bodies were found close to each other on a beach on the morning of September 15, 2014.

Lawyers for the two men had claimed evidence used in the case against them was mishandled and they made confessions under duress, statements they later retracted.

They said the methods used raised questions about police competence and the judicial system in Thailand.

A court rejected the defence arguments and in December 2015 convicted both defendants of murder and sentenced them to death.

Last month Thailand’s Supreme Court upheld their convictions meaning they will be executed.

It is understood a petition will now be put to Thai monarch Maha Vajiralongkorn asking him to commute the sentence to life in prison.

Speaking to Sky News Phyu Shwe Nu, 55, and Taw May Thein, 52, maintained their sons were innocent.

Wai Phyo’s mother said: “The boys were scared and confessed. He is innocent; why is this happening? After we heard our son’s sentence, his father went crazy and passed away. Maybe I’ll be next.”

Miss Witheridge, 23, who was originally from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, and Mr Miller, 24, from Jersey, had arrived in Thailand separately and met at the hotel where they were both staying.

Miss Witheridge lived in Colchester and studied speech and language at the Wivenhoe campus during her time at the university.

Their killers, who were both 22 at the time, were employed as service workers on the island, which is famous for its diving locations.

During 2018 Thailand carried out executions for the first time since 2009.