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Shot honeymooner begged for help, says witness

Murdered honeymooner Catherine Mullany begged for help after she and her husband were shot in their Caribbean holiday cottage, a witness said today.

A British tourist staying at the same resort in Antigua reported hearing screams 20 minutes apart and gunshots, followed by a female voice shouting, "Help me please".

Mrs Mullany's husband Benjamin, 31, is fighting for his life in hospital after the apparent botched robbery and may not know his bride is dead.

His parents flew out to Antigua yesterday and will return to his bedside today.

Lorraine Martin-Bell, 32, and her husband Steve, from Devon, were staying at the same resort as the newly-weds when the shooting occurred early on Sunday morning.

She said in a statement to police reported in newspapers today that she heard a scream and a sound like music at around 4.45am but thought it was somebody messing about.

Her husband woke up at about 5.05am and they went to the door of their cottage together but could not see anything.

Mrs Martin-Bell said: "We went back inside and secured our door, and that was when I heard an explosion that sounded like a gunshot.

"Immediately after that I heard a female scream louder than before.

"Then shortly after, I heard another explosion and a female voice shouted 'Help me, please' and then everything went really quiet."

The shot couple's parents, visibly distraught and upset, arrived at the Caribbean island's Holberton Hospital accompanied by Antiguan officials yesterday afternoon.

Mr Mullany's parents, Marilyn and Cynlais, and his wife's parents, Rachel and David Bowen, clutched each other but said nothing to waiting reporters as they visited the hospital's intensive care unit, where doctors were assessing Mr Mullany's condition.

A nurse at the hospital confirmed Mr Mullany was "critical" and that there had been no improvement.

Police said he was on life support after having suffered a fractured skull and a broken leg.

But the hospital refused to comment on reports he is brain dead and in a coma after a bullet entered his neck and travelled up through his skull.

The two families also visited the Barnes funeral home where 31-year-old Mrs Mullany's body is being kept.

Antiguan detectives have interviewed several "persons of interest" but do not yet have a firm suspect for the shootings at the newlyweds' luxury resort and police have said there are no clear leads.

Police commissioner Gary Nelson, who was brought in from Canada to improve the troubled Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda earlier this year, said: "I don't want to get into the specifics of the investigation which might compromise what we are doing."

But he vowed that his 350-strong force was doing "everything... to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice."

"We are all deeply shocked and saddened - this is the first visitor homicide in over 10 years and it is a situation we never want to see repeated," he said.

The couple set off on their two-week honeymoon after marrying at a church in the Swansea valley in South Wales on 12 July.

They were on the last day of their holiday on the sun-drenched Caribbean island when at least one gunman burst into their cottage at Coco's Hotel as they slept at about 5am on Sunday.

Mrs Mullany, a doctor from the village of Cilybebyll in the Swansea Valley, was shot dead in the apparent robbery.

Her husband, a physiotherapist from nearby Ystalyfera, suffered massive brain haemorrhaging and is neither showing any brain activity nor responding to painful stimuli, the Antigua Sun newspaper reported.