Visit to bank 'trigger for yacht murders': Caribbean killings took place after pounds 7,000 cash withdrawal

FOUR PEOPLE stabbed to death on a British yacht in the Caribbean may have been murdered because thieves saw one of them withdraw nearly pounds 7,000 from a local bank.

The bodies of the two British crewmen and two passengers, an American couple living in Jersey, were found two days after the cash was withdrawn on Antigua in the Leeward Islands.

All the victims had been tied up and gagged with masking tape before being repeatedly stabbed in the face, head and neck. They were discovered on Saturday on the Computacenter Challenger, moored off Barbuda, a nearby island.

The professional crewmen who died were Ian Cridland, 35, a former geologist, and Thomas Williams, 22, both from the Southampton area. The passengers were John Cleaver, 58, a computer company executive, and his wife Patty, 52.

Yesterday, it emerged that somebody from the yacht, probably one of the crew, had withdrawn dollars 10,000 (pounds 6,850) from a bank last Thursday to pay for fuel, harbour charges and other expenses.

The yacht then sailed to Barbuda, 15 miles away, where it anchored at the western end of the island. The bodies were found by tourists on another boat, who became suspicious when they saw no movement on board for two days. Alvin Goodwin, deputy police commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda, refused to reveal whether the money was missing when officers boarded the yacht. He said: 'We are keeping an open mind on the case.'

However, a Foreign Office spokesman in London said: 'The yacht had taken on board a fairly substantial float in cash, about dollars 10,000 American. It may have been that robbers saw this.'

Mr Goodwin said that there was no evidence that drug-smugglers had been involved in the murders: 'We have made a couple of busts across the area, but there is no large-scale drug-trafficking here.'

Mr Cleaver, who came from California, administered property in Jersey, owned by Computacenter Ltd, a London computer firm. He and his wife had decided to take a holiday aboard the 65ft yacht, which is owned by Innovative Entertainment and Promotions Ltd, a sister company.

The boat is used for corporate entertainment and Mr Cridland, who lived with his girlfriend when he was in Britain, and Mr Williams were full-time crewmen.

Martin Hellawell, a spokesman for Computacenter, said: 'We are absolutely devastated. They were all people who were well-known within the company and we can't believe the horrible way in which it happened.'

Three Scotland Yard detectives who were already in Antigua to investigate the murder last year of the former head of Customs, are helping the inquiry. Forensic scientists will fly out from Britain to examine the bodies and the yacht.

Serious crime is rare on Antigua and Barbuda. A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'The murder rate in Antigua is virtually negligible, and the inhabitants of the islands are naturally shocked at a crime of this magnitude.'

(Map omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor