(DAILY MAIL) – A British couple murdered in Jamaica had a contract on their heads, police fear as it emerged there was a previous arson attack on their home.
Charlie Anderson, 74, and his wife Gayle, 71, who retired to the Caribbean island from Manchester a year ago, were found dead on Friday.
Gayle is said to have been found with her hair burnt off 20ft from the six-bedroom home they had been building. Her husband’s body was discovered with burns to the genitals an hour later 120ft away from Gayle.
Local reports said the couple had been stabbed as both were reportedly found with wounds to their face and neck.
This morning, a source close to the investigation said police are working on the theory that the couple may have had a contract placed on their heads as they were about to expose people who were fraudulently using their credit cards.
Pictures show burnt out windows and rooms in the house amid reports there may have been a previous arson attack aimed at scaring them out of their home.
A police source said: ‘The persons who committed these murders wanted the couple out of the way so they could cover up what they did after being found out.
‘It is most likely that there will be charges brought in connection with the credit card fraud.’ said the source. The investigation into the credit card fraud will lead the police to those responsible for these murders.
The pair, who had been married for 55 years, had retired to the district of Portland on the Caribbean island after living in Manchester.
A source close to the investigation revealed that the house where the couple lived was firebombed and that Charlie was chased out of the house by the suspect.
His body was found in a lane near the Mount Pleasant school. The body of his wife was found at their residence.
The source revealed that Police in Jamaica are looking at the possibility that there were also attempts to scare the couple after the house was firebombed.
‘They wanted to scare them off so they would not contact the police. They deliberately set fire to the house and when nothing happened the murderer decided to take matters into their own hands and snuffed the pensioners out,’ said the source.’
The police are looking at every avenue right now and they are focussing on the contract killing scenario at the moment.’
Last night forensics was dispatched to the house where DNA samples were taken.
Jamaica has some of the best forensic facilities in the Caribbean, said the source.
‘The police are working with DNA to help solve these brutal murders. They will do anything to get to the bottom of this.’
A community activist said that there might be reprisals if the murder is not solved soon.
‘These two people gave a lot to the parish and we will be working with the police to help them bring the people who carried out this ghastly act to justice.’
Earlier this week, it emerged that a suspect had been arrested in the case while police probing a fraud on Mrs Anderson’s credit card were also understood to be looking to question another person over the killings.
A police source in Jamaica told The Sun: ‘We have a lot of strands to put together – some of them we just can’t explain yet.
‘Mrs Anderson was discovered 20ft in front of the house and on the couple’s property. She was lying on her back and her body had been partially, although not severely, burned.
‘Her hair was burned off, but her face was visible. And her clothes were burned with some material sticking to her body.
‘Mr Anderson was found 40 metres from the house, but still on the couple’s land. He and his clothing were also burned – it was concentrated around the genitalia area.
‘There were pieces of burnt clothing between his body and the house, like he had been on fire and was getting away from the building. He was found towards the end of a long slope. One of the rooms in the house was also burned, their living room which I believe they also used to cook in while they did construction work on another part of the home.’
A spokesperson for the Jamaican police confirmed the arrest. said: ‘The man is being detained at a police station in the area. No one has been charged and the police will release a statement later on about developments on this murder.
‘The police have plenty of time to either charge the suspect or release him. While he is being questioned the police are looking at other lines of inquiries and persons of interest.’
Mrs Anderson was the first to be found on Friday with her hands and feet bound together, while her husband was discovered two hours later with what police believed to be gunshot wounds.
Preliminary police investigations revealed that the couple had recently been defrauded of $8million Jamaican dollars (£50,000) by credit card scammers.
Investigators are looking for a man from the Mount Pleasant community who reportedly fled the area a little over a month ago in connection with the murders.
According to a family member, between August last year and May of this year, a total of 45 credit card transactions were made at prominent hardware stores and supermarkets in Portland without their knowledge.
Only two weeks before her death Gayle had been forced to return to the UK to secure copies of commercial transactions made by the fraudster.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Throyville Haughton told The Sunday Gleaner: ‘Both bodies had wounds to the neck and face. However, we are not yet able to say what might have caused those injuries.
‘We are making every effort to bring closure to this heinous crime, and as such, we are getting assistance from our Area Headquarters and also from Technical Services from Kingston. Our detectives are still in the area carrying out investigations.’
Mr and Mrs Anderson’s sons said in a statement to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: ‘Our parents Charlie and Gayle enjoyed a long and happy marriage of 55 years and leave behind their four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
‘They were hardworking people, building a business with integrity and making sure we were always provided for.
‘Charlie and Gayle were pillars of the community in Manchester and Jamaica, and were hugely popular and loved by many.
‘They were just beginning the next chapter of their lives, retiring to Jamaica before this terrible tragedy.
‘We would like to thank our friends, family and community for their prayers and support.
‘We are completely devastated and ask for privacy at this extremely difficult time.’
Former neighbour Kishore Singh, who lives on High Bank in Manchester, said ‘they were two of the most beautiful people in the world, Charlie was like a father to me’.
The 51-year-old said Mr Anderson, who came to the UK as a Windrush migrant, had been building a house in Jamaica and had been going back and forth over the past few years.
He went on: ‘He would tell me ‘I’m going home, I’ve worked in this country and now I want to go home and retire and enjoy my last few years’.
‘He would tell me how the house building was going with so much pride in his face. We’d stand outside talking for hours.
‘When I found out what happened I couldn’t accept it. Not Charlie.’
Mr Anderson, a builder, gave up his free time to help Mr Singh renovate his house when he moved in around 12 years ago.
He said: ‘He would come round every morning and show me what to do, and again at 4pm after he had finished work, he didn’t ask for a penny. I can’t big him up enough, he made time for everyone.
‘And when we moved in Gayle was over straight away with housewarming presents and gifts.’
Mr Singh said the Andersons moved out to Jamaica for good around 12 months ago having lived in Manchester for decades, but had been back in the UK recently after falling victim to credit card fraud.
While Jerome Heslop, a farmer from the community in Jamaica said: ‘I am baffled by these murders.
‘They have given so much to this community, and they have never said no to anyone. Each time they are in Jamaica, they bring back shoes, clothes, tablets, food stuff, school items, and other stuff for residents.
‘It is a wicked and sinful act, and the community has lost two great people.’
MURDERS IN JAMAICA: ONE OF THE DEADLIEST DESTINATIONS FOR BRITISH TOURISTS
The island nation of Jamaica sees twice as many murders as Britain each year, despite a population of just 2.9 million.
As of April 7 this year, there had been 385 reported murders in Jamaica, a 4.1 per cent increase on the same period in 2017, according to local authorities.
In 2017, there was an average of six killings a week in the Parish of St James alone.
The increased level of violence in St James, which includes the popular resort town of Montego Bay, saw authorities declare a state of emergency in January, which has been extended until August.
In March, the Jamaican government declared an additional state of emergency in St Catherine North State, focused on Spanish Town, Linstead and Bog Walk, which will remain in place until next week.
The UK Foreign Office advice that British tourists should ‘exercise caution’ if travelling in these areas.
Between 2012 and 2015, 18 British citizens were murdered in Jamaica, making it the third deadliest destination for Brits, after Pakistan and Tunisia.
In June 2017, Norma Jones, 59, from Dulwich, London was shot dead in the street in St Andrew during a five-week holiday to the island.
In July 2014, British businessman Keith Murrain from Edgbaston, was found dead with his throat slit in Spanish Town after he was kidnapped shortly after arriving in Jamaica.
In January 2013, eight-year-old Imani Green, from Balham, London, was shot dead while on a family holiday.