Fri | Feb 28, 2020

Two suspects nabbed in Negril double murder

Published:Thursday | December 5, 2019 | 3:53 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Westmoreland police have taken two suspects into custody in relation to last Friday night’s brutal murder of a Negril businessman and his Italian wife who were tied up and shot in what the police believe was a West End home invasion and robbery.

Superintendent Robert Gordon, the commanding officer for Westmoreland, confirmed that the suspects were undergoing interrogation but disclosed that there were “other suspects at large who are presently being sought by the police”.

The deceased couple have been identified as Osbourne Richards, 49, and his 45-year-old wife, Patrizia Richards.

“We are at a very delicate stage in our investigation, and in short order, we are expecting to make a significant breakthrough,” explained Gordon.

According to reports, approximately 12:35 a.m. last Friday, assailants broke into the house and attacked the couple. It is unclear what transpired on the inside, but residents reportedly heard shots being fired.

When the police visited the location, the couple’s blood-soaked bodies were found inside the ransacked house with their hands tied and their bodies punctured with multiple bullet wounds. Some items were missing from the house.

The murder, which was the first major incident in the resort town since the tri-parish state of public emergency (SOE) was declared in Hanover, St James and Westmoreland on April 30, left residents and business interests in shock that the shooting occurred amid increased police and military presence.

Westmoreland was one of the bloodiest police divisions in 2018, but the SOE has been credited with slashing murders by 36 per cent, or from 132 to 85, up to November 30 this year compared to the corresponding period.

One businessman expressed fears that such incidents could damage the resort town’s tourism product, which is the lifeblood of its economy.

“Things were really bad at the start of this year with a number of murders, but things got quiet after the state of emergency was imposed,” a West End businessman who requested anonymity because of safety concerns told The Gleaner in the aftermath of the murders.

“I believe we are steadily killing the golden goose, so we might soon find ourselves without any eggs in Negril,” he said.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com