Port-of-Spain — Police said Wednesday they are investigating the slaying of a British man and his wife who were found hacked to death in their home on Tobago, a tiny Caribbean island where there have been other unsolved attacks on expatriates and tourists by machete-wielding assailants.
Trinidad and Tobago police have identified the slain couple as Richard and Grace Wheeler. The butchered body of the British lawyer was found in his Carnbee home, while his wife was found in their yard with her throat slit. The bodies were apparently first discovered by their gardener.
There have been no arrests in the apparent home invasion. Acting Senior Police Superintendent Joanne Archie said Wednesday that investigators are "following every possible lead" in Tobago, the smaller and less developed of the two islands that make up the twin-island Caribbean nation off the coast of Venezuela.
It's the latest unsolved attack by a machete-wielding assailant in tourist-dependent Tobago. A German couple in their 70s were found fatally hacked on a beach last year near their vacation home on Tobago's southern coast.
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That fatal attack was a short distance away from a villa where a British couple were seriously injured in a 2009 home invasion by a man wielding a machete. The year before, a Swedish couple was butchered in their Tobago villa in a similar home invasion.
Trinidad has far more crime than typically sleepy Tobago, but the U.S. State Department says violent crime is an issue on Tobago, "including attacks on expatriate residents and tourists in their residences, many of which involve the use of machetes."
Archie was reluctant to classify the deadly attack on the Wheelers as a crime against foreigners since they resided on the island for years. "We can't conclusively say that there are attacks on foreigners; they have been living here for 16 years now so we can't say that they are foreigners."
Richard Wheeler was originally from the British city of Sheffield but worked as a lawyer in the twin-island Caribbean nation for the Lex Caribbean firm, where he was a partner in the Tobago office specializing in property development.
It was not immediately clear where Grace Wheeler was from originally. The Wheelers were well known on the island with a population of roughly 62,000 inhabitants.