Cops probing whether Brit shot in St Lucia was killed by ex-employee

Detectives probing the shooting of British estate manager, 51, in St Lucia looking into the possibility he was murdered by a disgruntled employee

  • Donnie McKinnon, 51, moved to the Caribbean island from Scotland in 2009
  • He was shot dead by masked gunmen on balcony of bar in Soufriere on Saturday
  • His friend Peter Jackson, 72, was also rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds
  • A police source said today that detectives are quizzing former employees 
  • Cops are examining the possibility Mr McKinnon was killed by an ex-worker 

Detectives probing the shooting of a British ex-hotel manager in St Lucia are looking into the possibility he was murdered by a disgruntled employee.

Donnie McKinnon, 51, who moved to the Caribbean island from Scotland in 2009, was shot dead by masked gunmen on the balcony of a bar in Soufriere on Saturday afternoon.

He died at the scene, while his photographer friend Peter Jackson, 72, was also rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds. He has now made a full recovery.

A police source today said cops investigating the incident have been speaking to former employees at the estate managed by Mr McKinnon, along with close associates.

Donnie McKinnon (right) who moved to the Caribbean island from Scotland in 2009, was shot dead by masked gunmen

His photographer friend Peter Jackson (left), 72, was also rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds

The fatal shooting took place on the balcony of a bar in Soufriere, to the west of the island, on Saturday afternoon

It comes as it was claimed yesterday that Donnie McKinnon was gunned down in a ‘personal vendetta’

Peter Jackson (pictured), 72, a photographer from Accrington, Lancashire, who has been living on the Caribbean island for over 30 years, was injured in the attack

They said: ‘Police in Soufriere has started talking to workers from Soufriere Estate where the murdered victim worked. 

‘They are looking at the possibility that this could have been carried out by a disgruntled employee. 

‘The police are checking to see who was fired within the last month or so and who had it in for Mr. McKinnon. 

‘They are leaving no stones unturned and are looking at all lines of inquiries.’

A former employee who was questioned by police said one of the detectives leading the probe had spoken to him and a few others about Saturday’s incident.

They said: ‘The officer approached me and asked me whether I saw anything or knew anyone who would have wanted to hurt Donnie. 

‘He was asking about people who worked on the estate and what Donnie was like to work for. I told him that Donnie was an affable man and I was happy to work for him on the estate. 

The ex-worker added: ”I had no problems with him. I loved his Scottish accent as it was so unusual. 

‘I left his employ to work somewhere else and kept in touch. I am baffled as to why he was killed. I feel sorry for his family.’

Detectives are understood to be scouring CCTV to see whether they can identify the killers.

A local bystander, who lives close to the bar, said: ‘The police were there checking for and looking for any camera image that they could find that will help with their investigation. 

‘People are scared and even if they knew who is responsible they will not reveal it as they fear for their lives.’

The victims were on the balcony of Steve’s Bar on Market Road when the masked gunmen approached and fired shots (Pictured: The crime scene cordoned off by police)

Donnie McKinnon (pictured) was killed in the alleged attack, that took place at a local bar in the town of Soufriere

Mr McKinnon moved to St Lucia 13 years ago to take up a position as manager of the Soufriere estate.

Friends say he was affable and would often frequent bars and hotspots to have a good time with his fellow Brits and local friends.

Local fisherman Antoine Martins said: ‘He always seems to be enjoying life on the island. He would smile and say hello to people he came into contact with.

‘Sometimes he would get into verbal arguments with people and would snap out of it. I guess this is what drinking rum does to people irrespective of who they are. 

‘He was a gregarious man and enjoyed doing his job in Soufriere.

‘This is a sad time in our community and we don’t expect that sort of thing to happen right to us. He was treated like one of us. We are a peaceful people and hope they find the bad people who did this.’

His photographer friend earlier this week spoke of his relief after surviving the shooting.

Mr Jackson, a photographer from Accrington who has lived on the island for 30 years, said Mr McKinnon was the target of the attack.

He told The Times: ‘I was lucky. My friend, not so. My friend was the target, not me. Wrong place, they say.’

Mr Jackson was injured in the alleged attack and taken to the island’s St. Jude Hospital (pictured)

Mr McKinnon (pictured right) was the manager of the Soufriere Estate on the island, a 2,000 acre former working plantation

Mr Jackson, a well-known community activist and former director of the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation, was taken to St Jude Hospital to be treated for his gunshot wound. 

He added: ‘The bullet went straight through my shoulder and I’m lucky to get away with a fractured humerus. 

‘We are only a small community but our medical services do a great job with limited resources.’

It comes as it was claimed yesterday that Mr McKinnon was gunned down in a ‘personal vendetta’.

Author and retired secondary school teacher Clive Sankardayal, a friend of both victims, said: ‘I am still shaken by what has happened to Peter and especially Donnie.’ 

He said that Mr McKinnon – who managed the Soufriere estate, which is home to the Diamond Falls and Diamond Botanical Gardens tourist attractions – had recently moved house with his wife and young son. 

Mr McKinnon was also the general manager at Marcliffe Hotel and Spa in Aberdeen between 2007 and 2009.

The hotel said in a statement: ‘All of us at the Marcliffe are devastated to hear of the death of Donnie McKinnon in such terrible and violent circumstances.

‘We will remember him as the lovely, unassuming and very popular guy we all knew. He will be sorely missed. We send our love and condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.’ 

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