Death in paradise - man to finally stand trial this week

butchered: Family man Errol Bennett was hacked to death in Jamaica
butchered: Family man Errol Bennett was hacked to death in Jamaica
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The heartbroken family of a Preston man hacked to death in Jamaica in 2011 could finally get justice this week.

The man accused of murdering grandfather Errol Bennett is finally due to stand trial on the Caribbean island on Thursday - 19 months after he was arrested.

The dead man’s nephew, Josephas Clifton Bennett, is due before a judge at the Jamaican Supreme Court in Kingston.

But today close relatives in Preston admitted they were “still not very optimistic” about the trial going ahead - nor about its eventual outcome.

“At the moment, while we welcome the news that the trial is scheduled to start on Thursday, we won’t be holding our breath,” said a spokesperson for the Bennett family.

“This has dragged on and on and we have heard that a lot of cases like this in Jamaica get thrown out. We don’t hold out a lot of hope that we will get justice. But you never know.”

Errol Bennett, 59, was butchered in a bingled robbery at his holiday villa in the Portland area of Jamaica in December 2011. He suffered 15 separate wounds from a machete and bled to death.

Nephew Josephas, 33, better known as Clifton, was picked up in September 2012 and has been in custody ever since. But, despite attempts by the Bennetts to get the British Foreign Office to put pressure on the Jamaican authorities to speed up proceedings, the case has dragged on until now.

Clifton Bennett appeared in the Supreme Court last week for a trial date to be set and the judge scheduled the hearing to begin on Thursday.

“Bennett has not entered a plea yet,” said a Supreme Court spokesperson. “That will happen on Thursday and the trial should then proceed.”

The Bennnett family say they will not be flying out to the Caribbean to attend the trial. “All we want is justice. All we want is to hear that someone pays for Erroll’s murder.

“He was a lovely man and he is greatly missed by his family and friends.”

Errol Bennett was born in Jamaica and moved to England at the age of 15. He was a keen cricketer and was a founder member of Preston’s Jalgos Club. In the attack his friend, 27-year-old Kerry-Ann Thompson, received serious facial injuries.