Page last updated at 06:54 GMT, Friday, 15 August 2008 07:54 UK

'Stolen goods' in honeymoon case

Catherine and Ben Mullany
Catherine and Ben Mullany were shot on the last day of their honeymoon.

Two women charged in connection with the murders of British honeymooners Ben and Catherine Mullany in Antigua have been remanded in custody.

The pair, aged 32 and 22, are believed to be accused of handling items which were stolen from the couple.

They appeared before the chief magistrates in St John's, on the Caribbean island on Thursday morning.

The newly-weds, both 31 and from Pontardawe in the Swansea Valley, were shot in their hotel cottage on 27 July.

They were attacked at the Cocos Hotel and Resort in the south west of the island in what police think was a robbery which went wrong on the last day of their honeymoon.

Garry Nelson, the commissioner of the Antiguan Police, said the charges were a "significant development" but that they were still looking for others in connection with the couple's deaths.

The two women appeared before magistrates at St Johns Court in open court on Thursday morning, which was very early in the morning local time.

This meant their case and appearance received very little attention at the time.

A view from the hotel cottage in Antigua where Ben and Catherine Mullany were shot
A view from the Cocos Hotel and Resort where the couple were shot

Inspector Cornelius Charles, a spokesman for the Antiguan Police, said: "What happened, we had two ladies in police custody and they were charged today in connection relating to the Mullany investigation and they have been remanded in custody.

"For strategic reasons we would not want to go into detail of the charges."

He said releasing any further information could jeopardise the investigation.

"We expect to do some further arrests further down the road. They were charged with some offences but were not charged with murder. That is as much as I will want to say."

He said British officers had been "working together" with police on the island and that the charges were "a significant development as far as the investigation is concerned".

Funeral service

The couple were buried in a private ceremony on Wednesday.

It is believed the burials took place at St John the Evangelist Church, in Cilybebyll, Pontardawe, where they married on July 12.

Their families said they were planning to hold a funeral service at a later date to allow extended family members, friends and colleagues to pay their respects.

Catherine Mullany, who was training to become a GP, was killed instantly after being shot in the head.

Her husband, a University of the West of England physiotherapy student, died a week later after being airlifted to hospital in Swansea in a critical condition.

Death penalty

More than 30 people have been questioned in connection with the shootings and a total of eight British officers have flown to Antigua to assist with the investigation.

The island's troubled 350-strong force, which is faced with rising violence, has no computers, no crime database and only one forensics-trained officer.

Assistant commissioner Ron Scott, who was head of the force's crime unit and one of four Canadian police officers brought in earlier this year to transform Antigua's force, resigned at the weekend citing personal reasons.

Antiguan justice minister Collin Derrick said the resignation would not affect the continuing murder investigations.

Earlier this week, Antigua's government said it will introduce the death penalty for crimes involving weapons in the wake of the murders of the couple.

The new sentencing legislation will be introduced for anyone who uses a gun or knife in a crime which results in death or serious injury.

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