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Murder trial due to start in May

PUBLISHED: 12:23 06 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:29 03 March 2010

A PAINTER accused of killing retired millionaire Tony Fetherston is expected to stand trial in a Caribbean courtroom in May.

Joseph Hazel, 27, will face a judge and jury knowing that if he is convicted of the murder of the 65-year-old, from Woodbridge, he will be sentenced to the death penalty.

A PAINTER accused of killing retired millionaire Tony Fetherston is expected to stand trial in a Caribbean courtroom in May.

Joseph Hazel, 27, will face a judge and jury knowing that if he is convicted of the murder of the 65-year-old, from Woodbridge, he will be sentenced to the death penalty.

He would be able to appeal and this would trigger off a process that could ultimately end up in the London Court of Appeal.

Hazel is accused of murdering Frinton-born Mr Fetherston at his holiday home on St Kitts in January 2000. On the small Caribbean island the death penalty means hanging.

A lengthy committal hearing has been taking place intermittently on the island since October and a magistrate has listened to evidence when witnesses have become available.

The aim of the hearing has been to establish the evidence relating to the point-blank shooting by a masked gunman and to iron out any legal difficulties before a judge and jury hear the case.

The crucial pieces of evidence from a forensic scientist expert in London and Mr Fetherston's widow, Margaret, have been heard but they will have to return for the main trial.

Mrs Fetherston was inside the couple's bungalow on the edge of the island capital, Basseterre, when the door bell in the garden's perimeter wall rang.

Mr Fetherston answered the bell on the evening of January 26 and was confronted by a masked robber. He was shot after telling him he had no cash.

DNA evidence in the case relates to a mask, made out of a pair of trousers, which was found at the scene. Samples were taken from the mask for analysis and were eventually assessed in England.

Hazel was arrested after the results were given to the police team on the island and he has been in prison on St Kitts since last summer.

Robert Jeffers, deputy commissioner of St Kitts Police, said police were now working towards a date in May for Hazel's trial. It is expected the trial will last a week and the majority of the time will be spent on hearing the scientific evidence.

Mr Fetherston was a former RAF pilot and he used to be a director and deputy chairman of Thomas Meadows International, a large freight forwarding company, before taking early retirement.


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