Bedfield: Couple continuing to recover after Barbados shooting

A Suffolk couple were shot and mugged in Barbados, police have said

A Suffolk couple were shot and mugged in Barbados, police have said - Credit: Clifford Hicks

A SUFFOLK couple who were shot and robbed while on the Caribbean island of Barbados are today continuing to recover from their terrifying ordeal.

Ann Prior was released from hospital yesterday, while her husband Philip, is said to be in “good spirits”.

The couple, understood to be from Bedfield , near Framlingham, were returning to a cruise ship following a stopover in the capital, Bridgetown, when they were attacked.

Mr Prior, 72, was shot on his left side and his wife, 59, whose handbag was stolen, was hit in her right thigh.

Passers-by tended their wounds, using towels as bandages, until an ambulance arrived to take them to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for emergency treatment.

Royal Barbados Police have confirmed that Mrs Prior has now been discharged and that Mr Prior remains in hospital for continued care.

Officers have also said that two men have been detained over the shooting, which happened close to Bridgetown harbour shortly after 2pm on Sunday.

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Inspector David Welch of Royal Barbados Police said: “The gentleman, Mr Prior, is resting and is comfortable. He is in good spirits.

“We have two suspects in custody at this time assisting us with our investigation.”

The couple were on a three-month P&O cruise around the Caribbean and South America on board the Adonia, which left Southampton on January 8 and is due to arrive back in the UK on April 3.

Mr Prior and his wife are believed to have moved to Bedfield around three or four years ago, having previously lived in the Harleston area of south Norfolk.

The community were yesterday shocked to learn of the shooting.

Mr Prior was clerk to the Bedfield Town Estate, a charity set up to support education, training and welfare of villagers and organisations and help toward the maintenance of the fabric of the parish church.

David Tye, chairman of the trustees, said he spoke to Mrs Prior just before they set off on their trip to wish them a safe trip.

He said Mr Prior was doing an excellent job as clerk and was extremely knowledgeable. “It’s a terrible thing to have happened,” he said. “On behalf of the trustees, who I know will be absolutely beside themselves, I would like to wish them well.”

Keith Frost, chairman of Bedfield Parish Council, described Mr and Mrs Prior as “very pleasant” people. “On behalf of the parish council I wish them well and hope they have a speedy recovery,” he continued. “We will be in touch as soon as we can.”

Rev Fiona Newton, vicar at Bedfield Church, said she was sure villagers would be “utterly supportive” on the couple’s return.

A P&O spokesman said: “Two passengers on Adonia were hospitalised in Bridgetown, Barbados following an incident on shore on Sunday, March 17. One passenger has since been released from hospital.

“Local authorities are investigating. Our shoreside customer care team and ship’s medical team are providing support as necessary.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said they were aware of the incident and providing consular assistance.

It is not the first time a couple from Suffolk have been shot while holidaying in Barbados.

In June 2009 barrister Andrew Thompson and his wife Isobel were walking home from an evening meal when two men demanded they hand over money.

Within seconds – and before Mr Thompson could react – one of the men shot him through the leg, while the other snatched his wife’s handbag.

The couple, who live near Bury St Edmunds, were less than a mile from their 5* hotel.

Mr Thompson, 44, said yesterday: “My thoughts are with the couple. I know what they’re going through. It’s very traumatic. Thinking about what might have been is almost as bad as what has been. Imagining how it could have been worse.”

Mr Thompson said he received excellent support from the Barbados police force and local authorities, although keeping track of the justice system proved tricky and he still did not know what sentence his robber received.

“My only concern is that they sometimes keep stories quiet for the benefit of their tourism industry,” he continued. “However, having said that, Barbados is still one of the safest islands. Particularly compared to some of the bigger ones. But occasionally tourists do get caught up in it.

“I don’t have any long last affects from what happened, although it has altered my behaviour, particularly at night. I’ve been back to Barbados every year since, it hasn’t stopped me from going, but I’m more cautious than I was.”

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