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Families at honeymoon murder trial

The luxury Antiguan hotel where two newly-weds were murdered on honeymoon could "easily" be broken into at night with a simple "hard push" on the gate, a court has heard.

Security at the £330-a-night Cocos Hotel was such that at least one gunman was able to enter one of its upmarket cottages and shoot the couple before fleeing the premises.

Ben and Catherine Mullany, both 31, died following what appears to have been a botched robbery at the beachside retreat, little more than a fortnight after their wedding day.

On Thursday, nearly three years after their deaths on July 27 2008, their devastated relatives came face to face with their alleged killers.

Sitting quietly in the cavernous Caribbean court room, they listened as a security guard on duty that day admitted the gate to the hillside hotel was "not properly secured".

Mr Mullany's mother and father, Marilyn and Cynlais, appeared strained as they sat in the public gallery with the parents of their late daughter-in-law, David and Rachel Bowen, listening as Brinsley Barrie agreed even a guest locked out late at night could "easily" have entered the honeymoon retreat.

They sat with heads bowed as he told the court there had been no padlock on the wooden seven-foot gate that day - just a bolt and a "piece of iron". Asked if someone could have climbed over the barrier, he replied: "Most probably."

The pair, from Swansea, south Wales, were on the final day of their honeymoon in the south west of the holiday isle when they were violently attacked. Mrs Mullany, a doctor, died instantly while her husband, a former South Yorkshire Police officer, who had also served in the British Army, was later transported back to Britain for treatment but was pronounced dead a week after the shootings.

Avie Howell, 20, and Kaniel Martin, 23, were later charged with their murders. They are also accused of killing local shopkeeper, Woneta Anderson, 43. They deny the charges.

The trial continues.


From Belfast Telegraph