Caribbean shooting: British doctor shot dead on honeymoon in Antigua

Posted on 9:57 AM by Sameer Shah

Catherine Mullany, formerly Bowen, was shot in the head during the attack at the luxury Cocos Hotel at 5am on Sunday morning. Her husband Benjamin is critically ill after being shot in the neck.

The couple, who are both from the Swansea area of south Wales, were on the last day of their honeymoon after marrying on July 12. They had been due to return home today.

Mrs Mullany's father David Bowen, known as Dai, said he was "too upset to speak" at the family home in Pontardawe, where the Bowens run a farm and a holiday cottage business.

Mrs Mullany's maternal uncle, Gareth Jones, said: "To be honest, we are all stunned. This is so tragic. I don't know the full details but when I spoke with my sister this morning she was very, very shaken.

"Catherine's parents only found out about it this morning. They are still surrounded by wedding photographs at the moment and the tragedy is my niece had not even seen them yet. Now she will never see the photographs of her own wedding.

"I am not quite sure of the circumstances but it seems that they have been shot in a robbery. Ben was shot in the neck and apparently his life is in the balance. My niece was killed outright."

Mr Jones said his own son, Jonathan, had his honeymoon in Antigua five years ago and vowed never to return, as he felt it was too violent.

Benjamin Mullany, 31, is a physiotherapist who also works in the area.

Mrs Mullany, known as Dr Bowen, worked in the paediatric unit at the Singleton Hospital in Swansea.

Her colleague Mike Cosgrove, the hospital's paediatric consultant and clinical director, said: "We were expecting Catherine back from her honeymoon today and instead we heard this terrible news.

"We are all completely devastated. She was an excellent doctor and a lovely person, and an extremely popular member of staff.

"She had so looked forward to her wedding; she had talked about it for months. Nobody can believe what has happened."

Paul Williams, Chief Executive of the NHS Trust said: "Catherine was a popular, talented and caring young doctor with a wonderful career ahead of her.

"Our sincere condolences go out to her family, and we are all praying that her husband makes a full recovery."

Dr Bowen, who graduated from Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School in London in 2002, joined the Swansea NHS Trust in August 2003 and was training to be a GP.

She and her husband had bought a terraced house together in Rhos, half a mile from Mrs Mullany's family home.

A neighbour said: "Everyone here has nothing but good words to say about them. We've only just heard about it and are very upset."

The couple were married at the 12th Century St John the Evangelist Church in Cilybebyll last year.

Mr Mullany's parents Marilyn and Cynlais were waiting at their large detached house in nearby Ystylafera for the latest news from the Holberton Hospital in Antigua.

Mr and Mrs Mullany, both aged 31, arrived in the Caribbean on July 14. The Cocos Hotel, which charges up to £330 per night in high season for its 23 chalets, is described as "perfect for honeymoon couples" on one travel website.

Each of its chalets has an outdoor shower, balcony with views of the sea and dazzling white beaches and a hammock.

The shooting is the tenth murder on the holiday island this year, and follows two attacks by masked gunmen in recent days. Last year a record 19 people were murdered on the island.

Harold Lovell, Antigua's tourism minister, tried to assure holidaymakers that the island was still safe, saying: "We pride ourselves that Antigua is a safe and stable destination and this has come as a great shock to us.

"We want to do anything we can to allay fears and solve this heinous crime and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice."

He said police investigators would look at whether there were any lapses in security at the hotel, which employs guards.

He said other hotel guests had been left traumatised by the murder and some had requested to be relocated.

"The police are still obviously trying to work out the motive, but they think robbery will be the motive," he said. "It is something that is being fully investigated by the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda. They will leave no stone unturned."

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