Malaysian sentenced to death for murder of French tourist in Tioman Island

Ms Stephanie Foray, a 30-year-old civil servant, had arrived in Malaysia on 5 May 2011 and gone missing shortly after taking a ferry five days later to Tioman Island. A Malaysian shopkeeper on Wednesday was sentenced to death after a court found
Ms Stephanie Foray, a 30-year-old civil servant, had arrived in Malaysia on 5 May 2011 and gone missing shortly after taking a ferry five days later to Tioman Island. A Malaysian shopkeeper on Wednesday was sentenced to death after a court found him guilty of murdering a French tourist on a popular resort island. -- PHOTO: THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUANTAN, Malaysia (AFP) - A Malaysian shopkeeper on Wednesday was sentenced to death after a court found him guilty of murdering a French tourist on a popular resort island.

Ms Stephanie Foray, 30, went missing on Tioman island off the east coast state of Pahang in May 2011.

Her partially mummified remains were found some three months later buried in a cave on the island.

The verdict comes just weeks after another foreign tourist, British backpacker Gareth Huntley, went missing on the same island during a trek in circumstances that have yet to be fully explained.

A high court in Pahang's capital Kuantan found Asni Omar, 39, who operated a shop selling beach gear on the island, guilty of killing Ms Foray.

As the death sentence was handed down, Ms Foray's mother looked at Asni and wept.

In delivering the verdict, Judge Mariana Yahya said the defence failed to raise reasonable doubt.

Asni, who was sitting in dock with short shaved hair and wearing a dark blue shirt with white stripes and jeans, was hugged by crying family members before being led out of the court by the police.

Murder carries the mandatory death penalty by hanging but Asni can appeal against the sentence.

Asni was accused of killing Ms Foray, a French civil service employee, after she spurned his advances.

The murder of Ms Foray shocked people in the Muslim-majority country where violent crime against tourists is rare.

Ms Foray had arrived in Malaysia in May 2011 on a trip through several countries. She took a ferry to Tioman five days later and disappeared shortly afterwards.

In another deadly incident on the same island, Mr Huntley went missing while trekking to a jungle waterfall on May 27 this year.

His body was found a week later by a stream not far from a turtle research site where he was volunteering.

The police are still investigating what caused Mr Huntley's death.

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