Ex-BBC producer killed in Trinidad 'bloodbath'

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The Independent US

A former BBC producer, her elderly mother and her British brother-in-law have been found murdered in Trinidad.

Lynette Pearson, 51, Maggie Lee, 83, and John Cropper, 59, were bound, gagged and had their throats slit in what police described as a "bloodbath".

The two women had been staying with Mr Cropper at his large house in a suburb of the capital, Port of Spain, when they were attacked.

After Mr Cropper's cleaner raised the alarm on Thursday, a relative found the bodies in the bathroom.

Mr Cropper, an agricultural consultant, headed the Cropper Foundation, which sponsors workshops for young writers. He named it after his only child, Devanand, who died of a heart problem three years ago, aged 20.

Mr Cropper's wife, Angela, a United Nations environmental consultant, was in Indonesia at the time of the deaths. She was due to fly to London today to be with relatives.

Her niece said: "She is absolutely devastated. Her son died three years ago and now this triple murder and they are all related to her."

Mrs Pearson, a Trinidadian living in Port-Vendres, France, had been coming to the end of a two-month stay during which she had been working on a biography of Ulric Cross, a retired local appeals court judge who had flown for the RAF in the Second World War.

Her mother, who lived in Toronto, had joined her for the holiday.

Police said they suspected the group had been murdered by robbers, who "hacked" the trio to death, ransacked the house and stole Mr Cropper's Honda Civic, electrical items and jewellery.

"This was a bloodbath. These were senseless killings," an investigating officer said. Passports, identification cards and other personal belongings were also stolen.

The group had hosted a party on Tuesday night and detectives said they suspected the robbers had struck after the guests had left in the early hours of Wednesday. "They were cleaning up 10 to 15 minutes after the tea party had finished when these bandits just stormed the house and that was it," a relative said.

The deaths brought the number of murders in Trinidad and Tobago, which has a population of 1.3 million people, to 143 for the year, the highest on record.