Disturbing CCTV footage has emerged of an accused murderer holding the hand of a young girl and leading her through a train station in Bangkok shortly before her battered body was found dumped beside a nearby motorway.
The grainy footage was captured nearly two weeks ago at a skytrain station in the Thai capital, and bears a chilling resemblance to security vision of two-year-old British boy James Bulger as he was led away by 10-year-old killers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables in 1993.
The six-year-old girl, nicknamed Nong Cartoon, disappeared while attending a folk music concert with a group of family and friends near Bearing skytrain station in Bangkok on December 6.
Her disappearance sparked a massive police search that ended earlier this week with the discovery of her strangled and decomposing body near the city's Suklhumvit Soi 501 motorway.
A short time later, police arrested a 32-year-old man, named by the Bangkok Post only as Nui, who worked as a roadie with the touring folk group.
He allegedly confessed that the girl was not his first victim, telling police that he had kidnapped and raped nine others, four of whom he killed, according to the Bangkok Post.
Metropolitan Police Bureau deputy chief Thitirat Nongharnpitak said at a press conference on Monday that investigators were working to verify claims made by the 36-year-old, who had no last name or identification cards because he was an orphan.
Nui was also present at the press conference and came face-to-face with Cartoon's parents, telling them he was sorry, the Bangkok Post reported.
"My apologies to the child's parents, I didn't mean to do what I did," he allegedly said.
He claimed he was drunk at the time he abducted Cartoon, and convinced her to go with him by telling her he would buy her snacks, the newspaper reported.
After leading the girl to a nearby bush he attempted to rape her but she resisted, the Bangkok Post said. He had allegedly choked her until she stopped moving, before raping her.
Police said the girl's father, Sayan Petchdon, had taken his daughter and seven friends to see the folk music concert featuring the popular band Mai Thai Hui Jai Silp on December 6.
The concert started at 9pm, but at 10.20pm Cartoon was tired so her father took her to sleep in the pick-up truck that they had travelled to the event in.
The girl fell asleep in the truck and her father stayed with her for about 10 minutes, before leaving her to watch the end of the concert.
When he returned to the truck about 11pm, she was nowhere to be found.
The group searched for the girl but, when they could not find her, her mother, Tukta Sawangsri, contacted police to report her disappearance at 3.35am on December 7.
Police uncovered footage from nearby CCTV cameras that showed a man, wearing a black T-shirt and light shorts, leading Cartoon away through the train station that night.
Nui was arrested on Sunday in the city of Nong Khai in north-eastern Thailand after a tip-off from the public.
The girl's abduction has shocked Thailand in a similar way to the James Bulger case in England 20 years ago.
The two-year-old boy was abducted, tortured and killed by 10-year-old classmates Venables and Thompson in Liverpool.
The murder has been ingrained into the British national memory by video images of the trusting toddler being led to his death by the boys.
- Sydney Morning Herald