Software boss hunted over death of his neighbour

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The Independent Online

With his tinted hair and tribal tattoos, John McAfee has always stood out among the yacht-owning multi-millionaires who choose to live out their teatime years in the picturesque Caribbean tax haven of Belize.

The co-founder of the technology company McAfee, famous for its anti-virus software, he moved to a beachfront mansion on the tourist island of Ambergris Caye in 2009, hoping to enjoy a long and happy retirement filled with sun, sea, sand, and yoga.

But after an extraordinary fall from grace, the British-born entrepreneur yesterday found himself holed-up in a jungle hideaway, attempting to stay one step ahead of detectives seeking to question him about the gangland-style murder of his neighbour.

Police in Belize say Mr McAfee is a "person of interest" in the killing of Gregory Faull, a wealthy native of Florida who was found face-down in a pool of blood on Sunday morning. He had been shot in the head.

Mr McAfee insists that he has been framed, as part of a vendetta by local authorities. Speaking via telephone to a reporter from Wired magazine, he alleged that his own life would be in danger in the custody of Belize's police force.

"You can say that I'm paranoid about it, but they will kill me, there is no question," he said. "They've been trying to get me for months. They want to silence me. I am not well liked by the Prime Minister. I am just a thorn in everybody's side."

He had been in dispute with several neighbours, including Mr Faull, over the state of his beachside compound. The property is surrounded by high fences, has an untidy garden and has for months been patrolled by heavily armed guards.

It also contains a pack of large guard dogs. They had recently been the subject of several noise complaints, one from Mr Faull. On Friday night, four of the dogs died, after having apparently been poisoned.

Mr McAfee claims the poisoning occurred at the hands of authorities, as part of a plot to frame him for Mr Faull's murder. The police, who have recovered several firearms during a search of his home, say there is "absolutely no truth" to that allegation.