Relief at honeymoon murders verdict

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The Independent US

The grieving parents of a British honeymoon couple shot dead on the holiday island of Antigua have spoken of their relief after two men were convicted of the murders on the third anniversary of their deaths.

But the relatives of Ben and Catherine Mullany said they would never comprehend the "senseless nature" of the killings at the five-star Cocos Hotel in 2008.

Kaniel Martin, 23, and Avie Howell, 20, could now face the death penalty following the conclusion of their two-month trial.

Emotional scenes played out at Antigua's High Court as the verdicts were read out.

In a statement, the distressed families said: "There is no joy at today's verdict, just a sense of relief that after three years of waiting there is justice for our children.

"These two individuals can never again inflict the same anguish and devastation to any other family as they have to ours.

"We will never be able to comprehend the senseless nature of their deaths, the total disregard shown for human life and that no remorse has ever been shown."

Mr and Mrs Mullany had only been married for two weeks when they were shot in the back of the head during a dawn raid on their luxury hotel chalet.

Mrs Mullany, a doctor, died instantly, while student physiotherapist Mr Mullany was flown back home to South Wales in a desperate attempt to save his life.

But despite the efforts of his wife's medical colleagues in Swansea, his life-support was switched off a week after the shooting.

The couple were buried in the grounds of the same church where they married a little over a month previously.

Two weeks after the murders, Howell and Martin went on to kill again, this time targeting 43-year-old shopkeeper Woneta Anderson.

The pair, who refused to face questioning in court, protested their innocence throughout their trial in the island's capital, St John's.

But yesterday local time, early today in the UK - three years to the day they committed the murders - they were found guilty.

Dressed in jeans and shirts, neither showed any sign of emotion as the jury of eight men and four women delivered its verdicts after an anxious wait of more than 10 hours.

Mr Mullany's parents, Cynlais and Marilyn, and their daughter-in-law's mother and father, Rachel and David Bowen, broke down in tears.

"Ben and Cath will live in our hearts forever," they said.

"They made our lives happy beyond measure and enriched every day that they were with us.

"On July 12 2008, Ben and Cath shared a truly perfect day with their friends and family.

"Just over two weeks later our lives were changed forever as theirs were cruelly taken."