SCARBOROUGH –– Homicide detectives have held three people, among them a woman, in connection with the killing of British lawyer Richard Wheeler and his Trinidadian wife Grace. The suspects are in their 20s.
The announcement was made by Assistant Commissioner of Police Homicide Vincel Edwards who was selected by Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams to head a special investigative team to probe the double tragedy.
He was speaking at a special police news conference at the Scarborough Police Station yesterday.
The female suspect and one of the male suspects are from Tobago while the other male detainee is from St Vincent.
Edwards said: “We have done tremendous work in this investigation at this point. We have had a number of leads and this has caused us to have at least detained three persons who are persons of interest that can assist us in our investigations.
“The investigation is ongoing and as we speak there are persons out there on the field doing a number of different things.”
He said the trio were held in the south-western part of Tobago on Wednesday, but was hesitant to say if they were connected to the Wheelers in anyway, or if they were linked to any of the murders involving foreigners on the island.
He also refused to reveal if a murder weapon was found. He noted the Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard would determine the way forward in the matter.
Responding to questions posed to him about reports of a serial killer perpetrating the acts against foreigners living in Tobago, Edwards said the Police Service was doing its just due.
“We are still conducting investigations. We have not yet completed this investigation, so it’s exceedingly difficult to say whether or not they are serial killers but the investigation is ongoing and if such information has come to hand we will make it public,” he said.
Negative tourism advisories have already been updated about Tobago as a tourism destination. Cautioning tourists
to be vigilant when visiting the island for the fear of them
being under attack by locals. Edwards said the Police Service was doing all in its power to make the island safe.
He also said no foreign assistance was sought to investigate the Wheelers’ murder and the Police Service was working assiduously to bring the case to a successful conclusion.
Tobagonians have chided the police for the resources being pumped into cases, and the attention given when foreigners are killed, opposed to when a local was murdered.
“The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is doing its best to make every place in Trinidad and Tobago safe and this includes foreign nationals, locals and even visitors, so there’s no indication relative to that.
“I can assure you whether or not it’s a foreigner or a local or a visitor, we will expend as much resources as practically possible to bring it to a successful conclusion,” Edwards said.
He said all of the other unsolved murders and acts perpetrated against tourists had not gone cold. He said the Cold Case Team in Port of Spain had reviewed all murders and the relatives of the individuals were being kept abreast of the situation. He also dispelled the belief that the Police Service was under pressure to solve the case.
Richard and Grace Wheeler were hacked to death in their home at Riseland Gardens, Carnbee, between Monday night and Tuesday morning. Grace’s throat was slit while Richard received multiple chop wounds about the body.
An autopsy was conducted by pathologist Dr Valerie Alexandrov at the Scarborough General Hospital mortuary yesterday morning.
The report revealed the couple died as a result of blunt force trauma and chop wounds. Despite a $100,000 reward being offered, police officials say they had received useful information from the public and the award was still available.