Relatives of a Preston grandfather hacked to death in Jamaica fear their quest for justice could hit yet another legal brickwall when his alleged killer faces a court next week.
Errol Bennett, 59, was butchered in what police believe was a botched robbery at his holiday villa on the Caribbean island two-and-a-half years ago.
But when his nephew Josephas Clifton Bennett comes before a judge in Portland for a fourth time on Monday charged with murder, family back in Lancashire suspect the trial will be delayed yet again.
“We’re not optimistic,” said a family spokesman. “We’ve been through this three times already. Each time they have found some reason not to proceed and adjourned it.
“I hope we’re wrong, but we’re expecting more of the same on Monday.
“We are never going to get justice at this rate.”
The 33-year-old suspect has been in custody for almost two years, yet the police in Jamaica admit the delay in bringing him to trial is quite normal.
Det Insp Ralston Henry told the Evening Post: “I’ve had cases which have taken much longer. This is nothing unusual here. I can understand the frustration of the family back in Preston and I have been trying to keep them up to date with what is happening.”
Relatives of former upholsterer Errol have refused to fly out to Jamaica to give evidence at the trial because of fears for their safety. They have been kept informed by another family member living in the West Indies.
The family spokesman said: “The last time the case was in court in March it was adjourned because it was only a ‘mention’ hearing to determine whether the case should go to full trial.
“It was decided it should. But now we hear Monday’s court appearance could be another ‘mention’ hearing. It’s ludicrous, we’re back to square one.
“It just seems like a stalling tactic not to get it to trial. What are they so scared of? This case is a prime example of the system out there. We know families in the UK whose loved ones have been murdered over there and the killers have either never been court or, when it gets to trial, it is thrown out on a technicality.”