More Caribbean Crime--Victim Advice: "Don't Go!"
A British woman has described how she was raped at gunpoint after her husband was kicked senseless by an intruder at their villa in the Caribbean.
The young, masked attacker slipped into their privately rented holiday home on St Lucia looking for jewellery, cash and gifts. The retired professional couple, now safely home in Britain, say that they have wept in private every day since the ordeal.
They decided to speak out to warn other Britons planning holidays in the West Indies in the wake of the shooting of the honeymoon couple Catherine and Ben Mullany on Antigua. The British and US Governments have warned travellers to St Lucia to beware of violent crime after several rapes and robberies by gun-men preying on tourists.
The couple, in their 50s, were once adventurous and eager to explore new destinations, such as Africa and India. During their interview with The Times, the wife shook as she relived what they endured and the couple emphasised how much they wanted to thank the hospital, the High Commission, local hoteliers who took them in and the Royal St Lucia Police Force. The couple chose a rented villa on the edge of the bush, a few miles from Castries, for a holiday this spring. They took the usual precautions of locking all doors, but returned from a shopping and sightseeing visit one afternoon unaware that an intruder was hiding in the spare bedroom.
“All of a sudden I could hear my wife screaming her head off,” the husband said. “I thought there must be a snake or something. I went to be confronted by this guy running round like sheet lightning with a gun. Then it was simply horrific.” The robber forced the couple into their bedroom and made them surrender their modest jewellery, a watch and some money. “He made me lie down and made my wife tie me up with ribbon from the curtains. This bloke was not on drugs. He was quite calm and articulate. He took my wife into the kitchen. I could hear her saying: ‘Not that! Not that!’ At that point, he had only touched her.”
The robber made the wife lie on the floor beside her husband, who recalled: “I am not a religious person but my mother died a few years ago and I said: ‘Mum, please help me’.”
The wife continued: “I then heard this enormous crack and my husband was sniffling and snorting. I thought ‘Oh, he has shot him’, and I was just lying there waiting for mine. There was then another bang, less loud, and I realised it was his foot connecting with my husband’s head. My husband, being disorientated, kept trying to get up. For that, he got another kick in the head. He probably was kicked in the head about half-a-dozen times.
“The chap said to me ‘Would you like me to kill him for you?’ I was terribly British and I said ‘No, I would rather you didn’t. No, thank you’.”
With the husband concussed, the robber made the wife go to the bed. “He raped me. All the time I was concerned that my husband wouldn’t see what was going on. I was just saying to him, ‘Stay down, stay down’. [The robber] then finished what he was doing. I didn’t dare make eye contact.”
The gunman fled with their mobile phone, but the landline still worked, so they called the villa manager who brought them to hospital. The husband suffered broken teeth, fractured facial and cheek bones, a misaligned jaw and a bruised, swollen head. He spent three months unable to eat anything but soup and fish.
The wife has gone through the distress of having medical tests for conditions that may be passed on through rape. All have come back clear, although the result for hepatitis is still awaited. She broke a rib falling when the intruder rushed towards her.
One theory is that the attacker slipped into the house while the maid was cleaning earlier that day. A possible suspect is in custody.
Even before the attack, the couple noticed an undercurrent of menace in the island’s mood compared with a stay in the villa a decade ago. “The people are beautiful, but there is a more aggressive minority,” the husband said. “When you ask directions on the street, they demand money for showing you the way. There is a drug problem. Our advice is: Don’t go.”