The nightmare has returned for Zoe Bennett and her family, just as they were beginning to rebuild their lives after the brutal murder of dad Errol.
News that cousin Josephas ‘Clifton’ Bennett could appeal against his life sentence in Jamaica for the merciless machete attack has devastated relatives in Preston.
“We just can’t believe we might have to go through this ordeal all over again, just when we thought it was over,” said Zoe.
“We fought long and hard to get justice for Dad and it feels like we are back to square one. It was a nightmare and now it’s returned. We’re absolutely sickened by this.”
Clifton Bennett was found guilty in March and given a minimum life term of 40 years without parole. Reports coming out of the Caribbean say he is to lodge an appeal against both conviction and sentence.
Victim Errol Bennett, 59, who ran an upholstery company in Ribbleton, was hacked to death in his holiday villa in Hector’s River, Jamaica in December 2011.
His nephew was on the run for nine months before being arrested. But it took a further two-and-a-half years - and eight adjournments - to finally bring the case before the Supreme Court.
“I just feel it’s a joke that he is being allowed to drag this whole thing up again and put us all through hell for a second time,” said Zoe, whose own life was threatened as she fought to get the case before a judge.
“If there’s a re-trial and he gets off – and you just never know – then all we have gone through will be for nothing. We all thought it was the end of the matter when the jury found him guilty in March. But it clearly isn’t. It’s never-ending.
“I’ve been trying to get through to the Foreign Office to find out exactly what is happening and why they haven’t kept us fully informed. We only found out through the media. We will never totally get over what happened to Dad, but at least after the sentence we were able to start trying to rebuild our lives. Now things are back on hold until we hear if there is to be a retrial.”
An inquest into Errol Bennettt’s death is to be held in Preston Coroner’s Court on August 14.