St Kitts killer set to be sentenced

THE masked killer who shot Suffolk millionaire Tony Fetherston dead at point-blank range in the chest is waiting to hear todayif he will hang for the murder.

THE masked killer who shot Suffolk millionaire Tony Fetherston dead at point-blank range in the chest is waiting to hear todayif he will hang for the murder.

Joseph Hazel, a 30-year-old decorator, is due to appear before a judge in the Caribbean when he will be sentenced for the murder of the 65-year-old former RAF pilot from Woodbridge.

Mr Fetherston was murdered on January 26, 2000, when he was with his wife Margaret at their holiday home in Basseterre, St Kitts.

Hazel, who lived 300 yards away, climbed over the walls surrounding their bungalow and demanded money from Mr Fetherston in the evening. But he immediately shot Mr Fetherston dead when he did not hand over any cash.

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

Hazel's DNA was found on a pair of maroon trousers left outside the walls. A maroon mask, cut from the trousers, was found in the garden but Hazel's DNA was not found on that. It was the first time that a crime had been solved on the island by scientific means.

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After the jury delivered its verdict Dennis Merchant, director of public prosecutions, told the judge, Davidson Baptiste, that he wanted the death penalty for Hazel.

The judge adjourned the case until April 26 for the preparation of psychiatric and social welfare reports. The alternative to hanging is the imposition of a life sentence - and life means life on the small Caribbean island where Hazel would spend the rest of his days locked in a cell in the prison adjoining the police headquarters in Basseterre.

The last time the Caribbean state of St Kitts and the neighbouring island of Nevis carried out an execution was in 1998 when David Wilson, 28, was hanged for killing a security guard. He had beaten him to death at a hotel four years earlier.

Wilson had killed before and he had appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which acts as the final court of appeal for Caribbean Commonwealth states.

Two years ago the Privy Council's judicial committee in London declared the mandatory death penalty unconstitutional but said it could still be used in cases that deserved the ultimate penalty.

Caribbean countries have resumed executions in response to increasing levels of violent crime. Caribbean Justice, a group campaigning for an end to the death penalty in the English-speaking Caribbean, says capital punishment has widespread public support and is a major political issue.

Mr Fetherston, born in Frinton, was deputy chairman of the Thomas Meadows International freight forwarding company before he retired early.

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