Buried shotgun 'used on yacht'

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The Independent Online
BOB GRAHAM

Antigua

A man on trial for the murders of four people aboard a luxury yacht in the Caribbean took officers from Scotland Yard to a disused sandpit and showed them a buried, rusting shotgun, the hearing was told yesterday.

Mellanson Harris pointed to the weapon used to kill Britons Ian Cridland and Thomas Williams, and a middle-aged American couple, Bill and Kathy Cleaver, aboard the ill-fated yacht, Computa Center Challenger.

Harris is one of two men who have pleaded not guilty to the killing of the four people two years ago. All four were bound and gagged before being blasted with the shotgun from less than 3ft away.

At the time of the murders, the 65-foot racing ketch was anchored 200 yards from a deserted beach off the Caribbean island of Barbuda.

The trial of Harris and 22-year-old Marvin Samuel heard yesterday how unemployed Harris took the British detectivesto the sandpit close to Barbuda's small single-runway airport, nearly three weeks after the murders.

The discovery of the single-barrelled weapon, which had been stolen weeks before the murders, was crucial to the investigation and led to Harris and Joseph being charged.

Two days before taking police to the gun, Harris had also taken them to another sandpit on the island, where a blue holdall belonging to murder victim Bill Cleaver had been buried.

Superintendent Norris Airall, of the Royal Antiguan Police, said pounds 80 sterling was found in a shirt pocket when Harris's home was searched.

The trial continues.

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