January 31 2015 Latest news:
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Four men have been charged with murdering Norfolk yachtsman Roger Pratt, who died defending his wife Margaret from a gang of robbers in St Lucia.
Retired engineer Mr Pratt, 62, was killed as three armed men climbed aboard their yacht moored off the coast of the Caribbean island on January 17.
Earlier reports said five men had been charged with murder and robbery in connection with the incident but a Royal St Lucia Police Force spokesman confirmed today that there were only four.
Richie Kern, Kervin Devaux, Fanis Joseph and Jeromine Jones, all of Vieux Fort, St Lucia, appeared before the Second District Court in Vieux Fort on Friday.
The men, who are aged between 20 and 31, have been remanded in custody to appear before the Second District Court in Vieux Fort on February 4.
They covered their faces as they entered the courtroom and were also charged with robbery. They did not enter any pleas.
Meanwhile, the prime minister of St Lucia has said he was “ashamed” at the killing of Mr Pratt.
Mrs Pratt, 60, was badly beaten in the attack.
Speaking for the first time about the killing, the prime minister of St Lucia, Kenny Anthony, said he felt “extraordinary regret” at the incident which has shocked the Caribbean country.
Mr Anthony said the death had caused “hurt and dismay throughout the length and breath of this country”, and added he thought the killing was “an isolated incident”
Mr Anthony told the Daily Telegraph: “To put it bluntly I feel rather ashamed that it happened in my constituency.
“I think was a case where a group of young people thought they had the opportunity. The yacht was in a fairly isolated area and the yacht would have been an easy target.”
Mr and Mrs Pratt grew up in Norfolk and met sailing on the Broads.
They sailed to St Lucia on their yacht the Magnetic Attraction.
The couple, who live in Warwickshire, had set off an a dream round-the world trip on their 42ft yacht from Lowestoft last July, and were members of the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club.
Mrs Pratt is still in St Lucia and was visited by the country’s prime minister two days after the death of her husband.
Mr Anthony said she was “an extraordinary person” and added: “I admired her strength and her courage and I told her so.”
A post-mortem examination found Mr Pratt had drowned after suffering a heavy blow.