Thai family buries baby murdered on Facebook Live

The body of 11-month-old girl Natalie is carried into her grave by male relatives in Phuket on April 29, 2017. PHOTO: AFP
Jiranuch Trirat (3rd from left) is comforted by friends as she looks at a photograph of her 11-month-old daughter Natalie during the last funeral rites at a temple in Phuket on April 29, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

PHUKET, Thailand (AFP) - Tearful relatives gathered outside a Thai temple on Saturday (April 29) to bury an 11-month-old girl killed by her father in a harrowing murder he broadcast live on Facebook before committing suicide.

The Buddhist ceremony on the southern island of Phuket concluded a week of funeral rites for baby Natalie, who was hanged from the side of an abandoned building on Monday (April 24) by her 20-year-old father Wuttisan Wongtalay.

Wuttisan, who hanged himself shortly after, filmed the macabre scene using his phone and broadcast it on Facebook Live.

The video was seen by Natalie's 22-year-old mother and hundreds of thousands of others before it was taken down some 24 hours later, prompting calls for Facebook to move more swiftly to block graphic content.

On Saturday, relatives held Natalie's sobbing mother as Buddhist monks chanted around a freshly-dug grave for the infant, who was pictured in a framed photo wearing a red dress.

Her tiny body was swaddled in pink, red and white cloth before it was lowered into the ground alongside a collection of her favourite toys and pillows.

Natalie's mother, Jiranuch Trirat, scattered yellow chrysanthemum flowers over the body before other relatives piled dirt back into the grave.

"I feel better now that she's resting," Jiranuch told AFP after the ceremony.

Natalie's distraught grandmother, whose son carried out the murder, told AFP it pained her to know the video had been seen so widely circulated.

"I feel sorry from my heart that people shared and liked (the video). I'm sorry for what my son did," said Jinda Raksakham, fighting back tears.

What prompted Wuttisan to carry out such a horrifying act remains a mystery.

Jiranuch said she and her boyfriend frequently argued but that the young father had always been kind to their daughter.

The gruesome killing was the latest violent crime broadcast on Facebook Live, triggering a renewed debate over the handling of such content and provoking anger among some social media users who said the company was too slow to remove the clip.

Yet Jiranuch told AFP earlier this week that she harboured no ill will towards Facebook and even found it in herself to forgive her boyfriend.

"I forgive him because holding onto anger for a long time will not get my daughter back," she said.

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