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German couple hacked to death in Tobago

Published: 
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Police officers and undertakers remove the body of a German national who was murdered in Tobago. Hubertus Keil and his wife Brigid, inset, were chopped to death at Bacelot Beach, Tobago, yesterday. Photo: CASANDRA THOMPSON-FORBES

A German couple has been hacked to death in Tobago. They have been identified as Hubertus Keil, 74, and Birgid Keil, 71. The bodies were discovered shortly after 11 am yesterday by a passerby who called the police. The bodies were found approximately one mile east of the beach, near the mouth of the river at Bacolet Bay. There were multiple chop wounds about the necks, hands and bodies of the couple. They were identified by property manager Brian Abraham.

The couple was last seen on Thursday, but investigators believe that the incident may have occurred shortly before the bodies were found. The T&T Guardian was told that the Keil's lived alone and have been visiting Tobago annually for the past 20 years during the winter months, arriving on the island in the month of October and leaving in March.

Police are yet to ascertain a motive for the killing, since the couples' villa was locked and was in a pristine condition. Their personal items including laptops and cellular phones were also intact. A resident of the area where the couple lived, and who did not want to be named, said they were very quiet people. The resident could not understand the reason for the attack.

"They were such nice people, they never trouble nobody. They were so frail that if they see you fall down, they would want to help but can't because they are so weak. They didn't deserve that," the resident said. Another resident told the T&T Guardian that while the incident came as a shocker, there were many instances of intrusion in the area, but they would hardly get assistance from the police

"This is a big estate and we have many problems with people coming and doing what they want. People coming picking hundreds of coconuts to sell, catching crab at their will, but this is private land and when you tell them about it, they always threaten to kill and chop up. Many reports were made to the Scarborough Police Station and sometimes they come, sometimes they don't, but look at what happen now, people would be afraid to walk on their own property," the resident said.

Up to late last night, police had no suspects in custody. District Medical Officer Dr Lesley Gabba ordered the body removed to the Scarborough Mortuary. This brings the murder toll in Tobago to seven for 2014. Tobago Homicide Bureau is continuing investigations. 

More crime info

August 2009 was the last time there was a major incident where tourists were attacked in Tobago. Murium and Peter Green were chopped by an assailant and left for dead, but luckily they survived the attack. They now live with some physical disabilities. Since the attack, they have not returned to Tobago, and the island’s Tourism took a nose–dive with numerous negative travel advisories.

An Argyle man was arrested but was released due to lack of evidence. The perpetrator was never held. The Keil’s villa is in close proximity to the house where the Green’s once lived.

THA responds to double murder 

Meanwhile, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has condemned the murder of German nationals Hubertus and Brigid Keil at Bacolet Beach. In a release issued yesterday, the THA said the couple lived in Tobago for the last 15 years and were well known in their community. The THA said the Keils called Tobago their home.

“Their deaths come as a shock to all of Tobago and the THA because they have occurred at a time when Tobago’s already low crime rate has been further reduced in 2014 when compared to 2013,” the release stated. The release stated that the T&T Police Service has already set up a high-level team to pursue the investigation with the aim of bringing to justice whoever is responsible for the murders.

The THA extended its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased.