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Paradise isle murder trial delayed

PUBLISHED: 16:01 14 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:00 03 March 2010

MORE delays have beset the trial of a man accused of killing a Suffolk millionaire at his Caribbean holiday home, it was revealed today.

After two years in custody, Joseph Hazel was expected to stand trial charged with the murder of retired Woodbridge businessman Tony Fetherston , 65, on Monday .

MORE delays have beset the trial of a man accused of killing a Suffolk millionaire at his Caribbean holiday home, it was revealed today.

After two years in custody, Joseph Hazel was expected to stand trial charged with the murder of retired Woodbridge businessman Tony Fetherston , 65, on Monday .

But today Foreign Office officials said the case had again been delayed – and was now scheduled to start on July 7.

It is the latest in a number of delays to have hit the trial, most of them caused by lawyers dealing with legal issues.

But the latest delay is simply a matter of logistics.

"The director of public prosecutions in St Kitts had hoped that the trial would start next week but there have been problems in getting people out there and travel for witnesses is still being arranged," said a Foreign Office spokesman.

Mr Fetherston's widow Margaret will be one of the key witnesses and at the trial she will come face to face with her husband's alleged attacker in the courtroom. Other witnesses from all over the world – including forensic experts – will fly to the island to give evidence at the trial.

The preliminary hearing to commit Hazel to the island's crown court was held during the winter of 2001-02 and it took several months for the case to be heard.

Hazel, 28, has been in custody since his arrest in the summer of 2001. He denies murder. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Mr Fetherston, of Woodbridge, was killed at point-blank range by a single shot after confronting a masked gunman who demanded money from him in the garden of his home on the island in January 2000.

His wife had been speaking on the telephone to the couple's daughter Alex, in New York, when they both heard a gun shot.

Mr Fetherston had gone to answer the ring of the bell in the wall surrounding the one-bedroomed holiday home on the edge of the island's capital, Basseterre.

Mrs Fetherston dropped the telephone, found her husband's body and bolted the door. But the masked man then put his face to the grille and demanded money from her. She retreated into another room and called the police and friends.

Mr Fetherston, a former commodore of the Frinton and Walton Yacht Club, was deputy chairman of the Thomas Meadows international freight forwarding company before he retired.

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