THE rolling beaches and gentle waves of Barbados may seem like paradise.

But to two Welsh brothers, the Caribbean island has become a living hell, with one accused of kidnapping the other in a row, apparently over their dead father’s millions.

John, 49, and 41-year-old Arthur Watts had a privileged upbringing as children of successful businessman Geoffrey Watts and were educated at an exclusive public school, Wycliffe College in Gloucestershire.

They grew up in luxury in their family’s £1m mansion in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, set in 8.5 acres of land.

But the death of their father and a reported quarrel over his millions has left Arthur Watts in prison on the holiday island, accused of kidnapping his brother, amid claims he was trying to force John to sign over part of his inheritance.

Arthur, the youngest of Geoffrey’s four children, is accused of recruiting four men from Gloucestershire, where he now lives, to help execute the plot. They are in custody too, and all five face charges of kidnapping and wrongful concealment.

Insiders say the seeds of bitterness were sewn when Geoffrey passed away after suffering with leukaemia in 1995. He had been chief engineer at United Transport and was an executive of seven companies when he died. He also owned shares in Watts of Lydney, the family’s firm which exports tyres across the world and had sales of £52.6m in 2003.

Their father left a will dividing his millions between loved ones. The family’s Welsh country home Stroat House, which Geoffrey bought in the 1960s, was left to his second wife Mary Lovell, whom he married in 1992.

His shares were divided between his children, but it is reported Arthur felt hard done by and resented John, a chartered accountant. Six years later much of the fortune is thought to have been lost in the stock market crash after September 11.

Last month, Arthur flew to Barbados with the four men, where John was with his 38-year-old Spanish girlfriend Annaclaudia DiEnjoy.

On June 25 witnesses saw the couple being forced into a car at Church Village, St Philip. It is believed there was a high-speed car chase, before John and Annaclaudia’s car was forced off the road. They were then bundled into the back of the other car and driven to a house on the coast.

Royal Barbados Police Force Sergeant, David Welch said: “They kidnapped John Watts and took him to several places against his will.

“We have no confirmation of torture, and if it had happened we would have charged them with something like serious bodily harm.”

The police found the kidnappers with help from Annaclaudia, who had been dumped in a field.

“The five men were arrested at a house in the Sunset Crest,” said Sgt Welch. “It is a resort on the West Coast in an affluent area with tourism like hotels and timeshares.

“I can’t give any concrete information about motives, but there have been rumours of it being over a large amount of money.”

Arthur, Damien Henson, 31, Adam Henson, 24, Stuart Williams, 24, and Jason Foster, 37, appeared in Bridgetown Magistrates Court on June 28. They will remain in prison until appearing again on July 28. If found guilty, each charge carries a maximum jail term of 25 years.

A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed five British nationals had appeared in court in Barbados charged with kidnap and wrongful concealment.

He said: “We are providing the appropriate consular assistance and a consular official has visited the detainees.”

John was scheduled to leave Barbados on Wednesday.

Stepmother Mary Lovell, who still lives in the family home Stroat House, Chepstow, said the reports came as a surprise to her.

The biographer of Welsh screen legend Richard Burton said: “I know nothing about it. I have not seen or spoken to Arthur for over three years. I didn’t even know where he was living until I saw a picture in one of the papers.”

“I have not seen or spoken to John since I was on holiday in Barbados 18 months ago.

“The entire story was a great shock to me and has been very upsetting.”

Mrs Lovell, who is now selling Stroat House for £975,000, stressed the sale of the mansion, which dates back to 1860, had nothing to do with the Watts brother’s feud.

She said: “All four children from my husband’s previous marriage were already grown up and living in their own homes when I married their father, and though I have seen them from time to time since then, at family events I hardly know them.

“I certainly know nothing about the incident in Barbados, and I do not wish to become involved.”

But perhaps as Arthur sits in his Barbados jail cell, he is thinking about his childhood in the Chepstow mansion, and happier family times before tensions ripped them apart.

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