Monday 23 October 2017

British couple 'hacked to death' during robbery on luxury island

Richard and Grace Wheeler's killers are still on the run

Richard and Grace Wheeler
Richard and Grace Wheeler

A reward of $15,000 (€13,200) has been offered for information leading to the capture of the killers of an expatriate British couple who were hacked to death in their home on the Caribbean island of Tobago.

Richard Wheeler, 73, a lawyer, and his wife Grace, 67, an estate agent, were found dead on Tuesday morning in the town of Carnbee.

It was the latest in a series of unsolved attacks by machete-wielding assailants against expatriates and tourists on the island.

Mr Wheeler had suffered slash wounds to his head and arms and his wife’s throat had been cut.

Areas of their house including the living room and a bedroom had been ransacked.

Police said they believed robbery was the motive for the double murder. The reward was offered by Crime Stoppers Trinidad & Tobago.

Neighbours said the couple had suffered seven previous robberies and had installed an alarm and kept guard dogs.

They had lived in Tobago for 17 years and Mr Wheeler, originally from Sheffield, worked as a property lawyer and was a member of the chamber of commerce.

Marjorie Nunez, a colleague, said: "We cannot fully express our feelings concerning the loss of Richard. He was an integral part of our lives.

"His dream was to retire in Tobago thus his move to the island in 1998. Richard and Grace loved life like they were still in their twenties. They were loving, caring people and developed strong relationships in Tobago.

"They were family people and very proud of their children and grandchildren."

The couple had three sons and several grandchildren.

Tobago, which has a population of 62,000, is the smaller of the two main islands comprising the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Commonwealth country gained independence from Britain in 1962.

It suffers from a significant level of violent crime often linked to drug smuggling.

Last year a German couple in their 70s were found hacked to death on a beach near their holiday home.

In 2009 a British couple suffered serious injuries in a home invasion by a man wielding a machete.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Following the death of a British national in Tobago our staff are travelling to the island to support family members at this difficult time.

"They will also meet senior police officers investigating this terrible crime after our high commissioner spoke with Trinidad and Tobago's police commissioner earlier today."

Diane Hadad, chairman of the Tobago Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce, described Mr Wheeler as a "gentleman".

She said: "They were friendly, always smiling, always laughing. They led a simple life, a friendly life."

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