Killer appeals against death sentence

THE ruthless gunman who killed retired Suffolk businessman Tony Fetherston five years ago has appealed against his death penalty sentence.Joseph Hazel was told a year ago that he would hang after a jury found him guilty of murdering 65-year-old Mr Fetherston at his holiday home on the Caribbean island of St Kitts.

By Richard Smith

THE ruthless gunman who killed retired Suffolk businessman Tony Fetherston five years ago has appealed against his death penalty sentence.

Joseph Hazel was told a year ago that he would hang after a jury found him guilty of murdering 65-year-old Mr Fetherston at his holiday home on the Caribbean island of St Kitts.

Hazel had denied murder but he was found guilty by a jury in the High Court, Basseterre, on a majority of 10-2.


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Hazel, a painter and decorator, has been inside the island's prison since the death penalty was imposed.

He has now appealed against both the conviction and the sentence - but his case is not expected to be heard for many months.

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Dennis Merchant, director of public prosecutions, led the trial against Hazel and Mr Merchant said yesterday: “The grounds of his appeal are both the conviction and the sentence.

“A notice of appeal has been filed and now it will have to take its course. The court has to prepare its records and that could take between nine and 12 months to be completed before the appeal is heard.”

The use of DNA evidence for the first time in a court case in St Kitts was a crucial factor in the jury's conviction of Hazel.

Mr Fetherston, of Woodbridge, was shot dead in the garden during a bungled robbery while his wife, Margaret, was inside the couple's bungalow on the outskirts of Basseterre.

She was talking on the phone to their daughter, Alex, in New York.

Hazel fled when Mrs Fetherston barricaded herself inside the bungalow and refused to give him money. But he left a maroon mask in the garden.

Hazel's DNA was established by examining the roots of hair samples. Saliva on the mask was tested for DNA but a profile could not be found.

However, a pair of trousers from which the mask was cut was discovered outside the garden walls.

When the clothing was examined, 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 on January 26, 2000, was the DNA.

The prosecution team then used several forensic scientists, including some from England, to analyse the evidence.

A British policewoman was even flown on an 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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