Jamaican machete inquest called off after more delays

CLOSURE: Daughter Zoe Bennett is frustrated after dad Errol's inquest is postponed
CLOSURE: Daughter Zoe Bennett is frustrated after dad Errol's inquest is postponed
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The final chapter in a grieving family’s four-year quest for justice for machete victim Errol Bennett has hit yet another agonising hold-up.

An inquest due to be held in Preston tomorrow into the death of the 59-year-old Ribbleton upholsterer has been called off after vital paperwork failed to arrive from Jamaica.

After all the delays in the trial, eight adjournments no less, the Jamaican authorities are now holding up the inquest.

Zoe Bennett

Five months after Josephas Clifton Bennett was found guilty of murdering his uncle and jailed for at least 40 years, a court transcript requested by the coroner in Preston has still not been sent by the Jamaican Supreme Court.

The news, which follows a two-and-a-half year catalogue of delays to the trial itself, today prompted daughter Zoe Bennett to say: “It is simply unbelievable.

“After all the delays in the trial, eight adjournments no less, the Jamaican authorities are now holding up the inquest. We weren’t able to get out to Jamaica to attend the trial, so this was going to be our moment to get closure for the whole family and for my dad’s dignity.

“We have been urging the Foreign Office to push the authorities out there in Jamaica to speed things up all along. Yet, nearly four years after he was killed, we are still getting delays. It’s cruel.”

Errol Bennett, a leading figure in Preston’s Caribbean community, was spending time at his holiday villa in Jamaica when he was hacked to death.

Tenants on the ground floor of the property heard him screaming: “Stop stabbing me Clifton, you’re killing me.”

The killer was on the run for nine months before he was picked up by police and the trial took another two-and-a-half years to conclude due to a series of administrative delays.

Mr Bennett’s funeral in Deepdale in January 2012 attracted hundreds of mourners.