Suspects in Wheelers' murder appear in Tobago court

Two of the three held in connection with the murder of British national Richard Wheeler and his wife Grace, appeared before a Scarborough magistrate today.

A twenty three year old Vincentian national and a twenty nine year old Tobagonian, appeared before Scarborough magistrate Cheryl-Ann Antoine at around ten on Tuesday morning. The men were not called upon to plead as the charges were laid indictably. Legal aid attorneys Kern Edwards and Farah Thompson represented the men.

Both are said construction workers. Three suspects were originally held when one of them attempted to use bank cards belonging to Richard Wheeler. The third suspect, a woman, has been released. The charges were laid yesterday at about four p.m. by acting inspector for homicide Raymond Kirk, following a directive by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In a media briefing late yesterday afternoon in Tobago, Acting Commissioner of Police for Homicide, Vincel Edwards, told reporters that there was no reason to believe the men knew the Wheelers and robbery remains the motive. ACP Edwards also said police won’t rule out a possible link between the murder of People’s National Movement contractor Winford James and the men.

On October 20th, the Wheelers’ gardener found their bodies. Grace’s throat was slit, she was found on the lawn of their property, while Richard was found with several chop wounds about his body in the house.

The murder forced the UK Government to issue an updated travel advisory warning of the murder of Richard, though it did not name him directly.

Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary (THA) Orville London, has said he doesn’t believe the murder would have a lasting negative impact on the image of the island, and he believes that overall the island remains a relatively safe destination for locals and tourists alike. 

Tourism associations echoed London’s opinion.

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