Murder victim’s family struggles to get over father’s brutal killing

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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The daughter of a Preston murder victim who is helping others overcome grief is still struggling to cope with her own.

Four years after Zoe Bennett lost beloved dad Errol in a machete attack in Jamaica, the mental scars still blight her life.

“I’m doing motivational speaking telling people how adversity can be turned into something positive,” she revealed.

“But it’s not helping me personally. I’m still struggling.” Zoe, whose cousin is serving 40 years for the murder of Ribbleton upholsterer Errol, fought the Jamaican authorities for two-and-a-half years to get justice.

But even though the crime was committed just before Christmas 2011 and the trial of Josephas Clifton Bennett ended in March, the family is still unable to get closure with a formal inquest here in the UK.

The hearing was due 
to be heard in Preston in August, but the coroner had to adjourn proceedings because the Jamaican Supreme Court failed to provide transcripts of the murder trial.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Zoe who has battled to overcome a succession of administrative hurdles and legal delays since the murder at her father’s holiday villa on the Caribbean island.

“The trial finished nine months ago, yet the last we heard was that the paperwork still hadn’t arrived from Jamaica. We’ve just been left in limbo.

“We had prepared ourselves for the inquest in August and it was called off at the last minute. Since then we haven’t heard anything. No-one is telling us what is going on.

“The Foreign Office say they can’t do any more. And it doesn’t look like the coroner’s office have got anywhere. So we are just left hanging on.

“The thing is that, after all that’s gone on, it has hit me now. It is so stressful and I’m struggling. I’m finding it difficult to be around people.

“In my motivational talks I’m telling people that no matter how hard life gets there is always a way out by setting yourself goals and never giving up. I’ve done that for the past four years, but I’m finding it hard now.

“Having to talk publicly about the worst thing that has ever happened in your life is tough, very tough.”

“Still, if it’s helping other people then I’m happy.”

A spokesman at the coroner’s office in Preston said: “At the moment we have no new date for the inquest into Mr Bennett’s death.”