Machete killer locked up for 40 years for murder of Preston uncle

Errol Bennett (left), murdered in Jamaica, photographed at home in Preston with daughter Zoe and son Errol Jnr.
Errol Bennett (left), murdered in Jamaica, photographed at home in Preston with daughter Zoe and son Errol Jnr.
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  • Killer sentenced after years of delays
  • Murder victim was well-known in Preston’s Caribbean community
  • Daughter says killer should have got death penalty
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A violent thug who hacked his uncle to death in a frenzied machete attack in Jamaica has been convicted of murder and jailed for at least 40 years.

Josephas ‘Clifton’ Bennett was sentenced to 40 years to life, without parole, for a merciless machete attack on Errol Bennett.

Josephas Clifton Bennett, charged with murdering Preston man Errol Bennett in Jamaica

Josephas Clifton Bennett, charged with murdering Preston man Errol Bennett in Jamaica

The Preston grandfather suffered 15 gaping blade wounds and bled to death before help could reach him at his holiday home in Hector’s River on the north-east coast of the Caribbean island.

The killer was on the run for nine months and it took a further two-and-a-half years and eight adjournments to bring the case to trial.

Now, despite admitting relief that cousin Clifton is unlikely to ever be freed, Zoe Bennett, Errol’s daughter, told the Evening Post: “I still can’t sleep at night. The picture of Dad in a body bag still haunts me.

“I don’t think this family will ever get over it. Forty years to life without parole is a long sentence. But anything less would not have been right after what he did.

“Hopefully he will die in jail. They still have the death penalty over there, even though they never use it these days. They should have given it to him.

“The way he murdered Dad was premeditated. He tortured him and that deserves the full weight of the law.”

Errol, 59, who left Jamaica to come to Preston as a 15-year-old, was a leading figure in the Caribbean community in the city, having been a founder member of the Jalgos Club and a talented cricketer. He had a villa in Hector’s River and regularly spent winter months there on health grounds.

He was killed just before Christmas in 2011 - tenants living on the ground floor of his home hearing the murderous attack and Errol screaming: “Stop stabbing me Clifton, you’re killing me.”

Zoe, who flew out to identify his body, had to clean up the murder scene days later and is now selling the house, vowing never to return to Jamaica after death threats were made against her in the build-up to the trial.

“It was a bloodbath,” she said. “Dad had obviously tried to claw his way out of the house because it was smeared all over the wall and there were pools of blood on the floor.

“He was such a generous man and he really looked after Clifton, giving him a place to live rent-free, trying to find him a job, giving him money and letting him use his car. Yet this is how he repaid him.

“I used to get on to Dad saying he was too kind and to keep away from Clifton. He would help anyone and that generosity ultimately killed him.

“I was born in England, but I met my cousin a few times on visits over there and I always thought he was a wrong one. You could see it in his eyes.

“I know he isn’t going to have any remorse for what he did. He just couldn’t care less.

“I’m glad he’s in jail without much prospect of ever coming out. But that isn’t going to bring Dad back. 
Nothing can.”