Scotland Yard detectives investigating the Jan. 27 slayings of four tourists aboard a luxury yacht near the Caribbean island of Antigua expect to charge a 22-year-old man with murder today, said Detective Superintendent Michael Lawrence.
Mr. Lawrence said the suspect, whom he would identify only as an island native employed as a government worker, has confessed to authorities that he was one of three men responsible for killing two Americans and two British crewmen aboard the 65-foot ketch Computacenter Challenger.
Americans William Norman Clever, 58, and his wife, Kathleen Marie, 50, were in Antigua for a weeklong sailing vacation aboard the yacht, which is owned by their employer, British multimillionaire Peter Ogden. The $1 million yacht was crewed by skipper Ian Trevor Cridland, 33, and deckhand Thomas Williams, 22, both of Hamble, England.
A passing sailor found all four bound, gagged and shot to death after boarding the Challenger as it lay at anchor a mile off a deserted beach on Barbuda, a small island 28 miles north of Antigua.
Mr. Lawrence told The Sun yesterday in a telephone interview that he believes robbery was the motive for the killings because items from the vessel were found in the suspect's possession. He said he would not identify the items until all the goods believed to have been stolen are recovered and additional arrests are made.
The suspect implicated two other men in the killings, Mr. Lawrence said.
"We know one is still on the island," Mr. Lawrence said. "Another has left, but we think we know where he is."
Mr. Lawrence said he expects one or both of the remaining suspects to be arrested soon, perhaps as early as today.
The killings, the first multiple murders in the island's recent history, shocked the international boating set.
Nearly a half-million tourists come to the Leeward Island annually for the region's protected harbors, sandy beaches and quiet way of life.
Anonymous donors put up a $150,000 reward to find the killers. However, Mr. Lawrence said, the reward offer provided no clues.
"It was our sheer detective brilliance," he said. "We had a theory that robbery was behind this."