South West Wales

Mullany Antigua murder trial: Accused silence attacked

Ben and Catherine Mullany
Image caption Two men are accused of shooting and killing Ben and Catherine Mullany in a hotel chalet on Antigua

A prosecutor has criticised two Antiguan defendants' failure to give evidence in the murder trial of a south Wales honeymoon couple.

Ben and Catherine Mullany, from Pontardawe near Swansea, were shot in their hotel chalet on the Caribbean island of Antigua in 2008.

Antigua director of public prosecutions Anthony Armstrong called Avie Howell's silence deafening and an unsworn statement by Kaniel Martin lies.

They deny murder. The case continues.

Mrs Mullany, a doctor, and her husband Ben, a student physiotherapist, were shot in the five-star Cocos Hotel on 27 July, 2008, just over two weeks after they were married.

Mrs Mullany died instantly, while her husband, who was studying physiotherapy at the University of the West England in Bristol, was placed on a life-support machine.

He was flown back to Morriston Hospital in Swansea but died a week later.

They were buried in the grounds of the church they had married in just over a month previously.

The court has been told DNA, ballistics and mobile phone evidence pointed to Martin and Howell, who also deny killing a local woman, Wonita Anderson.

During the eight-week trial the jury has heard from about 90 witnesses, all of them called by the prosecution.

The defence offered no evidence other than a string of denials.

In his closing speech Mr Armstrong highlighted the two defendants' decision not to go into the witness box and give evidence under oath.

"That was their right," he said, "but Avie Howell's silence was deafening."

An unsworn statement from Mr Martin was, Mr Armstrong said, "nothing more than a tissue of lies".

Mobile phone evidence heard during the trial had put Mr Martin in the area of the Mullanys' hotel at the time of the shootings.

The defendant claims he had gone there to use the beach.

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