November 23 2014 Latest news:
Monday, January 20, 2014
Relatives in Suffolk of the British man who died defending his wife when attackers boarded their boat in the Caribbean during a dream holiday have spoken of their “total shock”.
Police on the island of St Lucia said they were holding two people while its investigations were continuing after 62-year-old Roger Pratt, from Warwickshire, died on Friday – after he and wife Margaret were seemingly prevented from leaving port by local red tape.
Mrs Pratt, a management consultant, who had also worked for various NHS trusts, was treated in hospital after the attack.
The couple had been part-way through a round-the-world holiday of a lifetime when the incident happened.
Last night, Mrs Pratt’s sister Jenny Riley, who lives in north Suffolk, expressed her disbelief at the horrific events.
Mrs Riley said: “We are totally shocked and shattered by the tragic news.
“Roger had been preparing Magnetic Attraction for this voyage over several years and as an experienced engineer, his attention to detail was second to none.
“The boat was prepared immaculately for world-wide cruising – it was his pride and joy and he was very safety conscious.
“To sail across the Atlantic and explore the Caribbean was Roger’s dream.”
Mrs Pratt retired from her job in Warwickshire last summer, and the couple set off from Lowestoft last July. They sailed across the Atlantic in December with two other family members, and were in Martinique for Christmas, before sailing on to St Lucia in time for the New Year.
Mrs Riley, who with her husband Bryan had spent Christmas with Roger and Margaret in the Caribbean, said: “They were both experienced sailors and had sailed dinghies and keel boats since they were children.
“They both grew up in Norfolk before they moved away from the area.”
The brutal attack happened just days after Mrs Pratt’s 60th birthday, which was spent celebrating with friends.
St Lucian police said two men remained in custody, but no arrests had been made as yet.
The cause of Mr Pratt’s death has not been established and a post-mortem examination is due to take place. Mrs Pratt has been released from hospital and is now helping detectives.
Mrs Riley added: “My sister has been quite badly beaten up, I don’t think she will be home for a while. What can I say, it’s so tragic. We can’t really believe what is happening.
“It is a tragic, shattering end to their dream.”