South West Wales

Mullany honeymoon murders: Sentencing adjourned

Ben and Catherine Mullany
Image caption Ben and Catherine Mullany were forced to kneel beside their bed in their chalet before they were shot on the last day of their honeymoon

The sentencing of two men who murdered a couple during their honeymoon on Antigua has been adjourned.

Ben and Catherine Mullany, both 31 and from Pontardawe, Swansea Valley, were shot at their resort on the Caribbean island on 27 July, 2008.

Kaniel Martin and Avie Howell were convicted in July, and it is possible Martin could face the death penalty.

The court heard the case was adjourned because Martin's barrister Marcus Foster was too ill to attend.

The men are now due to appear in court on 8 December.

Sentencing had also been adjourned last month and Mr and Mrs Mullany's relatives were said to be disappointed by the latest delay.

The court was told Mr Foster had been flown to Trinidad for urgent medical treatment.

Judge Richard Floyd said Martin was entitled to be fully represented.

But he said he was extremely disappointed by the adjournment, adding it had been disruptive for Antigua's lone psychiatrist who again had to change his schedule to give his psychiatric evaluation of the two convicted men.

Lawyer Michael Archibald, assistant to Martin's lead defence lawyer, told the court that in the event Mr Foster was still unable to attend on 8 December, he would represent Martin.

The Mullanys were shot in their resort cottage on Antigua two weeks after they married, and on the last night of their honeymoon.

An inquest, held in Swansea earlier this month, heard that the killers forced the newlyweds to kneel beside their bed.

Neighbouring holidaymakers at the Cocos Hotel heard screams and gunfire at about 5am local time.

PC Emma Warner of South Wales Police told the hearing: "They were innocent victims.

"Both were forced to kneel to the side of the bed and were shot in the back of the head.

"Three spent cartridges were found on the floor of their chalet and there was damage to the bathroom door where it had been kicked in.

Image caption Kaniel Martin, 23, and Avie Howell, 20, also killed a shopkeeper on Antigua

"The safe was open and property had been taken including a quantity of cash, a digital camera and two mobile phones."

Catherine Mullany, a doctor working towards becoming a GP, died at the scene.

Her husband Ben, a student physiotherapist and former soldier and policeman, died a week later after he was flown back to Swansea.

Coroner Philip Rogers recorded verdicts of unlawful killing.

They were buried in the grounds of St John Evangelist Church, Cilybebyll, near Pontardawe - the church where they married two weeks earlier.

'Reserve judgement'

Their murderers also shot and killed local shopkeeper Woneta Anderson in almost identical circumstances.

At the end of the pair's trial in July, prosecutors said they would "reserve judgment" on whether they would seek the death penalty.

Howell was too young at the time of the crime to face the death penalty.

The death sentence has not been carried out on the island since the 1990s.

Following an intervention by the Privy Council in London in 2000, all death sentences in Antigua must be carried out within five years of conviction.

Antigua's Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has previously said the murders threatened the island's "very way of life" and said his government would introduce tougher legislation for anyone who uses a gun or knife in a crime which results in death or serious injury.

More on this story