Caribbean murder trial delayed

THE long-awaited trial of the man accused of murdering Tony Fetherston, a retired businessman from Suffolk, was delayed yesterday after another trial overran.

THE long-awaited trial of the man accused of murdering Tony Fetherston, a retired businessman from Suffolk, was delayed yesterday after another trial overran.

Now the case of Joseph Hazel, a decorator in his late 20's, is scheduled to start today in the crown court on the Caribbean island of St Kitts.

The 24-hour delay gave his widow, Margaret, and their daughter, Alex, time to settle into their rented apartment in the popular tourist area of Frigate Bay, three miles from Basseterre where the trial will be heard.

They arrived on the island on Sunday evening after a flight from England via Antigua. On Monday they were greeted like long lost friends as they visited shops in Basseterre. This is the first time Mrs Fetherston, who lives outside Woodbridge, has been on the island since she gave evidence at Hazel's committal two years ago.


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Mrs Fetherston and her 65-year-old husband used to visit the island every winter for three to four months to stay at their holiday home in Basseterre until he was shot dead on January 26, 2000, at point-blank range at the single-storey property.

Mrs Fetherston met Dennis Merchant, director of public prosecutions, on Monday night to review her statement before she appears before a judge and jury to give evidence. She was talking on the telephone to Alex in New York when her husband died a few feet away from her.

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The trial was due to start yesterday but it was put back a day to allow another trial to finish. London-based forensic scientists are due to arrive this week to give their evidence – they analysed DNA evidence from clothing found at the scene of the killing.

The apartment complex where the Fetherstons is staying is closely guarded by security officers. This is becoming increasingly common on the 68sq mile island (population 32,000) due to recent crime waves.

Details surrounding the trial have deliberately been kept low-key on St Kitts to avoid alerting the criminal fraternity who could decide to try to influence the jury.

Mrs Fetherston was last night preparing for the nerve-wracking experience of giving evidence on the island she loves against a decorator who lived close to their holiday home. He has been in jail nearly three years and denies murder.

Her daughter, who is not a witness, is prepared to sit through the whole trial to learn about her father's death. She was supposed to be starting a new job in antiques in London this week but this has inevitably been delayed while she attends the court hearing on the island where she spent many happy holidays.

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