Gunmen rob the Yard's top cop

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The Independent Online
THE SENIOR BRITISH police officer sent to the Bahamas last week to investigate the murder 10 days ago of British tourist Joanna Clarke was himself held up at gunpoint while visiting an island beauty spot, it emerged yesterday.

Detective Superintendent Brian Morris, the operating head of Scotland Yard's Flying Squad, was visiting Fort Fincastle, a popular park, on Sunday afternoon when he was ambushed by two gunmen, the British High Commission in Nassau confirmed last night.

Det Supt Morris was robbed of pounds 500 in cash and his wrist watch while his taxi driver also lost US$80. Neither of the two men were hurt, however.

The two assailants, both believed to be in their late teens, were said to have fled the scene on foot. Local police in Nassau said last night that they were interviewing two men.

Scotland Yard last night confirmed that Det Supt Morris had been robbed at gunpoint but was continuing helping the Royal Bahamas police investigate Ms Clarke's murder.

The attack had not been connected with the enquiry, a Yard spokeswoman said, but suggested the detective had been taken for a tourist.

The Deputy British High Commissioner, Phil Culligan said last night that Det Supt Morris "has not missed a beat as far as the investigation of Ms Clarke's murder is concerned." He added that the attack on the Detective was a "isolated incident" that very rarely occurs in areas like Fincastle which are extremely popular with visitors, especially at weekends.

The assault can only further dent the image of the Bahamas and Nassau in the tourist industry, however.

Local police, who have also been assisted by the FBI, have not reported any progress yet into the investigation of the murder of Ms Clarke and of an American tourist from Virginia which happened on Paradise Island, a resort destination close to Nassau. Ms Clarke, a 24-year-old Leicester University graduate, came from Banbury in Oxfordshire, and was staying with a family in Nassau when she vanished from Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island.

Last Thursday the Foreign Office advised Britons visiting the Bahamas to be vigilant.

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