Bride shot dead on honeymoon ‘fought for life’

A BRIDE shot dead on honeymoon in Antigua fought for her life before she was executed in a pair of white pyjamas embroidered with her married name, a court heard yesterday.

Catherine Mullany was gunned down alongside her husband Ben in their luxury beachside resort, little more than a fortnight after their wedding day.

She was later found by a doctor lying on the floor of their cottage in a “defensive” stance as if she had tried to fend off an attack, jurors were told.

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She was bleeding extensively, and, when her body was moved, a bullet shell was discovered.

Her nightwear had been embroidered with the words “Mrs Mullany”.

A doctor working for the Caribbean nation’s ministry of health, Oritta Zacharia, said the 31-year-old had “fresh” bruising.

“In my opinion, she appeared to have been in a fight before she would have died,” she said.

The doctor told the court she arrived at the upmarket Cocos Hotel at around 6.40am on July 27, 2008, when Mrs Mullany had been dead for some time.

“She was lying on her back, her arms and legs were somewhat over her body in a defensive stance,” she told Antigua’s High Court.

The court was told of earlier efforts to try to help the fatally injured couple.

Cpl Franklyn Taylor, of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, said he was called to the hillside retreat, on the island’s south west coast, at 5.20am and was led to cottage 15 by hotel security guard Ian Newell.

There he found Mrs Mullany lying on the floor, in white linen pyjamas, between the bed and the nightstand.

Her husband lay on the bed, which was covered with a mosquito net. There was blood on his face and on the white bed sheets.

“I then observed, with his right hand, he waved,” the officer told jurors.

He spoke to a guest Laura Fisk, who was also staying at the resort and was on the cottage balcony, and she went straight to Mr Mullany’s side.

“Laura started to ask him questions and she was basically trying to get him to regain consciousness,” Cpl Taylor told the court.

“She was there for some time, then she left the gentleman on the bed and she went to the young lady who was lying on the floor. Some time after, the emergency medical services arrived on the scene.”

Mr Mullany was taken to hospital and put on a life-support machine.

Cpl Taylor later had a conversation with Mr Newell, during which it emerged that the resort’s gate – which had been secured the night before – was found open at 4.40am, the court was told.

Jurors have heard how the Cocos hotel was secured by a barrier which could be opened with a simple “hard push” and could “easily” be accessed during the night by someone who wanted to get in.

Relatives of the Mullanys remained composed as they listened quietly to the evidence.

The couple, from Swansea, south Wales, were on the final day of their honeymoon on the holiday isle when at least one gunman burst into their room at the £330-a-night Cocos Hotel.

Mrs Mullany, a doctor, died at the scene of what appeared to have been a botched robbery. Her husband, also 31, was critically injured.

The former South Yorkshire Police officer, who had also served in the British Army, was later transported back to Britain for treatment but was pronounced dead a week after the shootings.

Now, nearly three years after their deaths, Avie Howell, 20, of Golden Grove, Antigua, and Kaniel Martin, 23, of Tindale Road, are on trial for their murders. They are also accused of killing local shopkeeper Woneta Anderson, 43. They deny all charges.

The trial is scheduled to last three to four weeks.