Forensic first in Caribbean murder trial

THE scientific evidence that caught the murderer of Tony Fetherston was the first time that DNA results had been used on one of the Caribbean islands.DNA evidence was crucial in detecting Joseph Hazel, a decorator aged 30, for the shotgun killing at point-blank range of the 65-year-old millionaire from Suffolk.

THE scientific evidence that caught the murderer of Tony Fetherston was the first time that DNA results had been used on one of the Caribbean islands.

DNA evidence was crucial in detecting Joseph Hazel, a decorator aged 30, for the shotgun killing at point-blank range of the 65-year-old millionaire from Suffolk.

Murder squad detectives said that it was the first time in the history of the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis that a crime was solved by scientific means.

Hazel, who had denied murder, was found guilty by a majority verdict of 10-2 a week ago and he will be sentenced on April 26. Dennis Merchant, director of public prosecutions, told the judge, Davidson Baptiste, that he wanted the death penalty for the murderer.


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Calvin Fahie, St Kitts commissioner of police, said: ''DNA made the case stronger. Before the DNA results was confirmed it showed early o'clock that the police had strong conviction that this was their man, so I think the DNA strengthened our results.

"It speaks volumes because I think, internationally, that is the way most sophisticated crimes have been detected and even though it may be the first that is prominent in our case, it augurs well for collaboration between our forces and our counterparts, regionally or internationally."

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He commended members of the Criminal Investigation Department and other officers for a 'fantastic job' in finding Mr Fetherston's killer.

Mr Fetherston, of Woodbridge and born in Frinton, died in the garden of his holiday home in Basseterre, St Kitts, on January 26, 2000, when he was shot dead during a bungled robbery. His wife, Margaret, was inside the bungalow talking on their phone to their daughter, Alex, in New York, at the time of his death.

Hazel fled when Mrs Fetherston barricaded herself inside the one-storey bungalow and refused to give him money. But he left a maroon mask in the gardens. Hazel's DNA was established by examining the roots of hair samples from him.

Saliva on the mask was tested for DNA but a DNA profile could not be found. However, a pair of trousers from which the mask was cut was discovered outside the garden walls. When it was examined for DNA Hazel's DNA was found and there were smaller amounts of DNA from an unknown person.

The only firm evidence linking Hazel to the murder was the DNA and that is why it became so important for the prosecution team to bring forensic scientists from England to give evidence.

Mr Merchant even brought in a British policewoman on a 8,000-mile round trip for just three minutes in the witness box so that she could tell the jury she had taken the vital evidence from Antigua to London.

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