Two sentenced to hang for yacht killings

BOB GRAHAM

Antigua

Two men were sentenced to hang last night after being found guilty of the cold- blooded executions of four people aboard a British racing yacht in the Caribbean.

The mandatory death penalty was passed on killers Mellanson Harris, 23, and Marvin Joseph, 22, just minutes after a jury returned guilty verdicts in the 1994 murders, on the paradise island of Barbuda.

It took the five-man and four-woman jury just one hour and 25 minutes to reach their unanimous verdicts of guilty to capital murder.

Mr Justice Redhead told both men: "It is the verdict of this court that you should be taken to a lawful place of execution where you will suffer the penalty of death by hanging and upon which your body shall be buried within the prison. God have mercy on your souls."

The only reaction from Harris was a smile, which spread across his face as he nodded his head. Joseph kept staring at the Judge.

The two men had been convicted after an investigation by Scotland Yard officers, who had been drafted in to help local detectives trace the killers of British yacht skipper Ian Cridland and his deckhand, Tom Williams, both from Hampshire, and two American guests, Bill and Kathy Cleaver.

The four were aboard the 65ft racing ketch Computa Center Challenger, which was moored in a remote bay beside the West Indian island of Barbuda - 27 miles north of Antigua - when they were attacked.

Harris, Joseph and a third man, Donald Samuel, 23, boarded the boat in the middle of the night, intent on robbery.

The three men bound and gagged the four sailors and stole several thousand dollars and a number of personal items from the yacht. They then shot them from point-blank range, killing them instantly.

Detective Superintendant Mick Lawrence, who headed the investigation, said immediately after the verdict: "Two years ago, these two men carried out four cold-blooded murders aboard the yacht.

"I am delighted for the sake of the relatives of those who died that we were able to trace, detain and finally convict those responsible for the barbaric murders.

"Today the course of justice was completed with the rightful conviction for a killing which was without reason."

The two killers now have 14 days to lodge an appeal with the East Caribbean Court of Appeal, based in St Lucia.

If they fail to lodge an appeal - which must be based on legal technicalities - there is an automatic review of the case by Antigua's Governor General, Sir James Carlisle, to consider any grounds for clemency.

If they do appeal, the matter would be heard either in June, or more likely November, by the St Lucia court. A final appeal is also possible, to the Privy Council in London.

The killers' disturbing lack of remorse or conscience for the brutal yacht murders - and the lack of motive for the shootings - have been a feature of the most sensational trial in Antiguan history.

The third man involved in the shootings, Donaldson Samuel, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the opening day of the trial, was sentenced to 15 years' hard labour.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Biomass Sales Consultant

£20000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...

Java Developer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My Client are a successful software hous...

Senior Analyst - Financial Modelling

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...

MS Dynamics NAV/Navision Developer

£45000 - £53000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: **MS DYNAMICS N...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game