The man suspected of battering international school teacher Gary Ferguson to death last month remains a free man as Burmese authorities bungle the paperwork necessary to solicit international assistance on the case.
An anonymous UK government source told the Scottish Daily Express that as of Friday, Burmese authorities have not issued an arrest warrant for Harris Binotti, 25, the prime suspect in the murder case.
Without a warrant, Interpol, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Police Scotland are unable to fully assist in the hunt for Binotti, who is believed to have fled Burma hours after the alleged murder on November 5.
The source told the Express that the failure to issue a warrant is odd because “the police have officially named him as the suspect in this case.”
“Maybe they’ve not had great experience of situations like this, where a British national has been killed and the suspect has fled the country, meaning they have had to liaise with Interpol,” the source said.
However, even though the Burmese authorities have been in contact with Interpol, Binotti is still not listed in Interpol’s Red Notice database, which means his name may not have been flagged to border officials, and countries may not be sharing critical information about the case.
“The FCO and Police Scotland have their hands tied because, even if Binotti arrived back in the UK, they would be unable to arrest him as he isn’t officially wanted. Neither have the power to investigate and they are limited in what they can do,” the UK government source said.
Binotti previously went by the name Harris Stockbridge and has UK and EU passports. He and the victim Gary Ferguson, 47, were teachers at the Horizon International School in Rangoon before Ferguson’s death. Ferguson was also a UK citizen.
Ferguson’s body was discovered with head and chest injuries early in the morning on 6 November by Binotti’s girlfriend Elsie Devolder and Ferguson’s wife Supatchaya Sichompor, who reported the case to Rangoon police.
Binotti is thought to have fled Burma on Myanmar Airways International flight 8M331 to Bangkok at 4:20pm on 5 November, before catching a connecting flight to an unknown destination.
AFP reporter Jerome Taylor tweeted on 30 November that a police spokesperson in Thailand said Binotti did not enter Thailand after that flight.
The victim’s brother Martin Ferguson told Coconuts Yangon: “I am a very angry man, a disappointed man in the system that is supposed to protect and serve all Britons worldwide.”
He added: “I loved my brother. He was my main person in life to have intelligent conversations with. Gary was really a special guy who just loved life.”
Martin has begun raising funds in order to offer a reward to anyone who assists in Binotti’s capture. The campaign has raised €1,445 and has a goal of €5,000.
He said: “We beg the British government and that of Myanmar and Interpol to please go the extra steps to catch [Binotti].”