Four in court over yachtsman murder

Four men charged with the murder of British yachtsman Roger Pratt in the Caribbean have appeared in court.

Retired engineer Mr Pratt, 62, was killed and his wife Margaret, 60, was injured after armed men climbed aboard their boat, moored off the south coast of St Lucia, and attacked them.

The four young men covered their faces as they entered the courtroom yesterday, when they faced charges of murdering Mr Pratt on January 17. They are also charged with robbery offences.

The four men, who are all from St Lucia, did not speak or enter any pleas during the hearing, the Associated Press reported. They were told they will appear at court again on February 4.

Mr Pratt, from Moreton Paddox near Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, was trying to protect his wife from the robbers, but he was beaten and thrown overboard by the men.

His wife, who retired as a management consultant to go on the long-planned around-the-world sailing holiday, found his body floating in the water nearby.

A post-mortem showed that Mr Pratt died from asphyxia as a result of being beaten. His wife was injured and was treated at a hospital for cuts and bruises.

Police said the suspects boarded the Pratts' yacht, the Magnetic Attraction, as it stood anchored just south of the island. They demanded money and other items before assaulting the couple, officers said.

Mrs Pratt had celebrated her 60th birthday the day before the attack, and the couple had planned to set sail for the next stage of their journey the same day.

But they were delayed by a bureaucratic hold-up which prevented them from leaving.

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