Haverhill taxi driver’s Caribbean island gun ordeal

editorial image

A holiday on a Caribbean island turned into a ‘terrifying’ ordeal for a Kedington man after he was robbed at gunpoint.

Alec Hearn, of Dash End, was one of 11 family members who arrived in Antigua on October 19 for a three week break at the Jolly Beach Hotel resort.

In the early hours of Thursday, October 26, the 28-year-old had been out drinking with a group but became separated from them.

He was walking past a security booth en route to his hotel when the guard inside spoke with him and suggested he would be better off not walking but getting a lift.

Having called the hotel’s general manager, the guard told Mr Hearn, who works for Star Cars in Haverhill, a lift would be provided.

A Toyota van with two men inside soon pulled up and offered him a lift to his hotel.

Mr Hearn said: “The security man said ‘they are going to take you back to the hotel, you have got nothing to worry about’.

“All we had to do was turn right and go for two minutes to my hotel, but we turned left and started leaving the resort.

“I thought, something is not right here.”

After the van had stopped off at two houses, the attitude of one of the men changed, said Mr Hearn.

“He said to his friend ‘I reckon he’s got thousands of pounds in his safe because he’s a tourist’. I was like ‘what’s going on here, I can’t just hand things over’ and that’s when he pulled a gun out and stuck it in my ribs.”

At gunpoint, Mr Hearn handed over 55 East Caribbean dollars, equal to just under £19 and was ordered to take them to his hotel room, but once back in the complex he broke free and ‘ran for my life’ towards the hotel lobby, pursued by the two men.

Security saw the pursuit and put the barrier down at the resort’s exit, preventing their escape, and rang the police, who arrived to arrest them withing ten minutes.

A gun was found two days later in a hotel hedge, having been ditched.

Mr Hearn said: “It’s a rare event out there, a very rare event for firearms to be used (in a robbery). It was very very terrifying for me.”

Having arrived home last Friday, Mr Hearn said: “I’m still having sleepless nights every now and then but it’s changed me completely, the trust; of trusting people again, it’s changed me as a person.

“It’s a lovely island and you can’t beat it but after what happened it does make me wonder whether I can go back there and feel safe.”

Two men have been charged over the incident and are awaiting trial in January.