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Killer of British honeymoon couple escapes from Antigua prison

Ben and Catherine Mullany were shot in their hotel room on the holiday island in 2008

One of the killers of a British couple murdered on their Caribbean honeymoon is on the run from prison, police said.

Newlyweds Ben and Catherine Mullany, from Pontardawe, South Wales, had been married for just two weeks when the 31-year-olds were both shot in their hotel room in Antigua in 2008.

Qualified doctor Mrs Mullany died instantly. Her physiotherapy student husband - who was studying for his degree at the University of West England in Bristol - was flown home on a life-support machine. Despite the best efforts of his wife's colleagues at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, the former South Yorkshire Police officer died a week after the shooting.

Local men Avie Howell and Kaniel Martin were later convicted of the murders and sentenced to life imprisonment. Last year Howell was handed an additional four-year sentence for a burglary he carried out just weeks before murdering Mr and Mrs Mullany.

Avie Howell 20, (left) and Kaniel Martin, 23, who murdered honeymooners Ben and Catherine Mullany from Pontardawe, South Wales (PA)

Police on the holiday island confirmed on Friday that Howell had escaped from Her Majesty's Prison on the island along with a fellow inmate who had been detained on fraud charges.

The family of Mr and Mrs Mullany said they were “extremely shocked” at the news and expressed concern that Howell could flee the island, a source said.

Counsellor Jamal Wright, who is based at St John's police station, said: "Avie Howell escaped from Her Majesty's Prison at about 6am on Thursday along with Kenroy Laurie Marshall.

"Apparently they used a sharp implement to cut out a portion of mesh and jumped over the northern prison wall, which is about 30ft (9m) high."

Sergeant Raymond Finley said he believed that Howell, who is in his early 20s, was still on the island and local police and defence forces were searching for him.

"I understand the victims' families will be very concerned," he added.