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Goa-origin sailor's killing: Suspects appear in court
April 03, 2008 13:49 IST
Nearly six months after Gregory Fernandes, a Goa-origin sailor, was killed by a gang in a Hampshire village, four suspects appeared in court this week in what has become an emotional incident for the villagers.
Part of a village square in Fawley, Hampshire, has been turned into a shrine as villagers mourn the racially aggravated attack and subsequent death of Fernandes on October 20.
A pall of gloom had since descended on the village which has never seen such a racially-motivated attack. Fernandes, 32, and his friend were attacked by a gang as they were returning to their ship, Garonne, after enjoying an evening at a local pub.
The death plunged the village into shame and mourning that later found expression in an emotional candlelight vigil in the village square.
Three teenagers appeared in court in Hampshire charged in connection with the death, while another youth appeared at the Southampton Youth Court.
The youths, all from the Fawley area, spoke only to confirm their names and give their date of births and addresses before the charges were read out to them.
During the two-and-a-half hour hearing, bail applications for one of the two 17-year-olds and a 15-year-old were heard, but refused.
A week after the death, more than 300 local residents took part in a special service at All Saints Church and then staged a procession to the village square where candles were lit in memory of the sailor.
At the memorial service, Fernandes' uncle, Father Diogo Fernandes, flew in from Royal Palm Beach, Florida. The Roman Catholic priest was representing the sailor's parents and sister, who live in Goa.
Father Fernandes said, "My visit is designed to bring whatever healing I can to my family. They are not in a position to be here today. I'm the only one able to undertake the trip".
"Gregory was the most beloved nephew I could have had. Coming here and praying for his spirit is the final thing I can do for him," he said.Father Fernandes met and embraced several villagers who knew he was coming and wanted to express sympathy at sailor's loss. A local youngster, Jack Rushmer, presented him with a letter of condolence.