The distraught Thai mother of a baby girl killed by her husband in a murder he broadcast on Facebook Live has described the harrowing moment she stumbled across the video and watched her daughter being hanged.
The four-minute clip of Wuttisan Wongtalay, 20, killing his daughter Natalie and then himself was broadcast to hundreds of thousands of viewers on Monday evening.
Jiranuch Trairat a 21-year-old from Phuket, was left devastated after watching her husband hang her their 11-month-old daughter Natalie from the side of an abandoned building before taking his own life.
The killing evening caused revulsion both in Thailand and around the world, sparking renewed debate about what can be done by social media giants to more quickly remove live broadcasts of violent crimes, suicides and murders.
Using a mobile phone, Wuttisan had broadcast Natalie’s murder on Facebook Live, a video that Jiranuch came across that evening.
‘I was with my older brother and he was logging onto his Facebook,’ she told AFP on Thursday from a Phuket temple where daily prayers were being held for Natalie ahead of her cremation on Saturday.
‘He was scrolling down and suddenly we saw the live broadcast. I turned to take a look and saw him (Wuttisan) drop my daughter with the rope and I couldn’t continue to watch.’
The horrifying realisation of what was unfolding sparked a desperate search by relatives and police, with the bodies of Wuttisan and Natalie found just a few hours later.
The murder video remained on Facebook for around 24 hours, prompting cries for the social network to move more swiftly to take down clips of grisly crimes and killings.
Two video clips were accessible on the father’s page for a day. The first clip was watched 112,000 times and the second 258,000 times.
Facebook admitted last week that it had ‘to do better’ to prevent such horror being uploaded after it took over two hours to delete footage of an American killing a stranger.
The footage was also uploaded on to Facebook-owned YouTube, where it was watched 2,351 times. It was taken down within 15 minutes. It is understood the videos were removed after Thailand’s ministry of digital economy contacted Facebook.
But Jiranuch said she harboured no ill will towards Facebook.
‘I don’t blame Facebook. They are not part of the problem, we can choose to broadcast happiness or sadness,’ she said.
What prompted Wuttisan to take such a horrifying step remains a mystery.
Police found the bodies of Wuttisan and the baby in an abandoned hotel in Phuket province after receiving reports of the video.
Police colonel Jirasak Siemsak said Wuttisan and his wife had been arguing.
Jiranuch said her husband had been abusive in the past and spent two years in prison before they started dating.
Local media reported that Wongtalay, suspected his wife Jiranuch Trirat, 21, of having an affair and had threatened to kill her in a jealous rage earlier that day.
He is then said to have stormed out of the house with their baby, Natalie.
Ms Trirat had previously told the Phuket News: ‘At 3am yesterday he checked my phone and threatened to kill me.
‘I was very afraid and ran away from the house and left Beta with him.
‘I returned home late in the afternoon and they were not there. I called him to bring Beta back to the house, but I could not get in touch with him. That’s when I saw the video clip and called the police.’
Jiranuch said the two frequently argued, particularly over her ex-husband with whom she has a son nicknamed Sanook — the Thai word for fun.
‘He often abused my son Sanook,’ she said.
But Wuttisan had always been kind to their daughter Natalie, she added, looking after her in the day while she took classes at a nearby school.
As for what her husband did, Jiranuch said: ‘I forgive him because holding onto anger for a long time will not get my daughter back.’
The killing was the latest gruesome act to be filmed and published on Facebook.
Last week Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg vowed to address the issue after a man in the US state of Ohio broadcast footage of himself shooting a stranger dead.
The killer went on to fatally shoot himself after a massive manhunt and police chase.
In Thailand, the potential for problems with Facebook Live became an issue last May when local media used the platform to broadcast live video of a university lecturer who was locked in a six-hour stand-off with police who were seeking him over the shooting deaths of two colleagues.
After negotiations for his surrender failed, he fatally shot himself, a moment that was also shown live.