Angry relatives of Preston grandad Errol Bennett, who was murdered in Jamaica, are to protest in London over heartbreaking delays in resolving the case.
The 59-year-old, from Ribbleton, Preston, was hacked to death during a winter break on the Caribbean island almost two years ago.
Despite one suspect being arrested, a trial is not imminent.
The officer in charge told the Evening Post last night the case would not come to court until January or February “at the earliest” because of delays getting legal representation for the accused man.
But Detective Inspector Ralston Henry admitted: “It could be much later than that. I’ve had cases which have taken much longer. This is nothing unusual here in Jamaica.”
The Bennetts will join other families who have had relatives murdered abroad at a demonstration in Westminster calling for better support from the British Government.
“We keep asking the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to put pressure on the Jamaican authorities to resolve this, but they don’t appear to have done very much,” said a member of the Bennett family. “It just seems to drag on and on.
“We aren’t the only family in similar circumstances to feel like this. So we are all coming together to demonstrate how appalled we are with the support we get.”
Mr Bennett, a talented cricketer and founder member of Preston’s Jalgos Club, was butchered in a bungled robbery in December 2011 at his holiday villa in Portland on the east coast of the Caribbean island. He suffered 15 wounds from a machete and bled to death.
In August last year police arrested his nephew Josephas Bennett, known locally as Clifton, and charged him with murder. But so far he has not appeared in court because of delays with forensic evidence and legal representation.
“It’s absolutely ludicrous,” said the Bennett family spokesman. “No-one seems to have any sense of urgency. Whether that is always the case with police in Jamaica we don’t know. But it is more than a year since he was arrested and we’re still waiting for news.
“Errol’s daughter Zoe is due to go out to give evidence at the trial, if it ever happens. But no-one is telling us anything.
“We have been in contact with several other families who have had relatives murdered abroad and they have all told the same story as far as the Foreign Office is concerned.
“They just aren’t doing enough. Their input could help push things forward, they could put pressure on the police out in Jamaica. We just don’t understand why they can’t support families like us.”
Det Insp Henry explained that when the case eventually comes to court in the New Year it might only be a preliminary hearing, with a full trial to be fixed at a later date.
“Sometimes it is like having two trials,” he said. “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.
“The man we have in custody is the only accused. According an eye witness there was no-one else involved in this crime.
“We will need the dead man’s daughter to give evidence at the trial, but we will be in touch with her about that in plenty of time.”
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson was unavailable for comment yesterday.