An Antigua court has found two men guilty in the murder of a Welsh couple killed on their honeymoon in 2008.
The grieving parents of Ben and Catherine Mullany spoke of their sense of relief today after two men were convicted of the murders. Relatives said despite justice being done, they would still never be able comprehend the “senseless nature” of the newlyweds’ deaths.
Kaniel Martin, 23, and Avie Howell, 20, were found guilty of murdering the couple, following a two month long trial.
In a statement released after the verdict, the 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 were both shot in the back of the head during a dawn raid at their chalet in the five-star Cocos Hotel on the holiday island. They had been married for just over two weeks.
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 turned off a week after he had been shot.
The couple were buried in the grounds of the same church where they had married a little over a month previously.
Two weeks after killing the newlyweds, Howell and Martin went on to murder 43-year-old shopkeeper Woneta Anderson.
The pair, who refused to face questioning in court, had protested their innocence throughout their trial, which saw more than 90 witnesses give evidence. However, they were found guilty by a jury in Antigua’s High Court in St John’s — three years after committing the murders.
Mr and Mrs Mullany’s parents broke down in tears as the jury of eight men and four delivered its verdicts following an anxious 10 hour and 20 minute wait.
The full statement from the families of Ben and Catherine Mullany:
On the 12th of July 2008 Cath and Ben shared a truly perfect day with their friends and family as they celebrated their marriage. Just over two weeks later our lives were changed forever as theirs were cruelly taken.
They were enjoying their honeymoon in Antigua when they were murdered by Avie Howell and Kaniel Martin, who broke into their cottage at Cocos in Valley Church.
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.
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, and for Woneta Anderson and her family, and a hope that these two individuals can never again inflict the same anguish and devastation to any other family as they have to ours.
We would not have got through this ordeal without the love and support of our dear families, friends and colleagues, to whom we will always be grateful. We would also like to thank everyone for their kind words and messages over the past three years.
We give our heartfelt thanks to the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, the Metropolitan Police Service and to South Wales Police for their commitment, determination, and support that has made this day possible.
We would also like to express our gratitude to the Antiguan authorities, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our liaison officers from South Wales Police for making the trial process bearable in very distressing circumstances.
We have asked for our privacy to be respected and we would like to thank the media for adhering to our wishes, particularly during the trial. We would be grateful if our request for privacy continues to be respected as we attempt to get on with rest of our lives.
Ben and Cath will live in our hearts forever. They made our lives happy beyond measure and enriched every day that they were with us. We thank all those who have supported, and continue to support, The Mullany Fund, an educational charity set up in their memory. A mentoring scheme for school children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds will be launched this September.