Murdered will be hanged

THE cold-blooded killer who shot retired East Anglian businessman Tony Fetherston is to hang for murdering him at his holiday home.Joseph Hazel, 30, was sentenced yesterday to the death penalty on the Caribbean island of St Kitts after he had been found guilty by a majority verdict earlier in the month.

By Richard Smith

THE cold-blooded killer who shot retired East Anglian businessman Tony Fetherston is to hang for murdering him at his holiday home.

Joseph Hazel, 30, was sentenced yesterday to the death penalty on the Caribbean island of St Kitts after he had been found guilty by a majority verdict earlier in the month.

Hazel, a painter, lived only a few hundred yards from the holiday home owned by Mr Fetherston and his wife Margaret in Basseterre, St Kitts. He shot the 65-year-old former RAF pilot on January 26, 2000, in the garden while his wife was a feet away talking to their daughter, Alex, in New York on the phone.


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Mrs Fetherston, from Woodbridge, said last night: ''It was generally felt he was a very bad lot. Maybe Tony's death has stopped a lot of bad things that were going on, on the island. There are people on the island having a party at the moment, I'm sure.

''My feeling is that he did a very terrible thing to my husband who really did a lot for the island.''

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Hazel had already spent nearly 1,000 days in prison while awaiting trial and it is expected that he will appeal against the sentence. This will trigger off a series of hearings in the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal and his sentence could ultimately be reviewed by the Privy Council's judicial committee in London.

Two years ago the committee declared the mandatory death penalty unconstitutional but said it could still be used in cases that deserved the ultimate penalty.

The last hanging was in 1998 when David Wilson, 28, was executed for killing a security guard. He had already killed before.

John Watherston, registrar for the Privy Council, said: ''We sit as a final court of appeal for St Kitts and we apply the law of St Kitts.''

Mrs Fetherston does not want to enter into arguments on capital punishment. ''It has been a long haul but it seems that we have a conclusion now. I do not have strong feelings on this one (the death penalty). I have got closure which we got on conviction. What they did with him, I was just thinking it was up to them now.

''I am just terribly relieved. They had reports on him and he was as sane as you and I. That was hard to take on board because he is a cold-blooded killer. He was a tough nut and showed no composure, no anything. I would have felt better if he had shown a trace of remorse,'' she said.

During the trial at Basseterre High Court Mrs Fetherston had to show the jury round the garden and point to the spot where Hazel had murdered her husband. Hazel stood a few feet away from Mrs Fetherston while she recalled the events of the fateful evening more than four years ago.

''He glared at me and I glared back. He just did not care, that is one thing I am sad about. If there had been a bit of remorse, I would feel a bit of compassion,'' said Mrs Fetherston, of Woodbridge.

Her daughter Alex, of Fulham, London, attended the trial on St Kitts and postponed taking up a new job as an antiques dealer in Chelsea to be at her mother's side during the court case.

''When I told Alex about the sentencing, she said she was very surprised - she said she thought he was going to get a life sentence but if that is what they wanted to do, so be it.

''I will return to the island. I love it, it is a second home to me. I received so much support and all my friends, they were sitting on the edges of their seats worrying about this dreadful situation. They were hoping that we would get a conviction but of course they were not sure,'' she said.

She was phoned by Peter Allcorn, the British honorary consul, who was in court for the sentencing.

''He said, 'Margaret, he has got the death sentence.' Tony can rest in peace, justice has been done and seen to be done. The island comes out of it looking extremely good. It is something I knew they would see it through,'' said Mrs Fetherston.

Mr Fetherston, born in Frinton, was deputy chairman of the Thomas Meadows International freight forwarding company before he retired early. The couple spent three months every year in St Kitts and loved the island so much that Mr Fetherston said, shortly before his death, that he wanted to be buried there.

Mrs Fetherston still loves the island, despite her husband's murder, and she will return annually. But Land's End, the bungalow where the shooting occurred, is up for sale because the memories are too horrific.

Hazel was convicted on DNA evidence, the first time that scientific evidence had been used on the island.

He left a maroon mask in the garden after the shooting. There was no DNA on the mask but it had been cut from a pair of trousers that were discarded just outside the garden walls. Hazel's DNA was on the trousers.

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