Roger and his wife Margaret, who celebrated her 60th birthday on the island just days before, were part-way through a round-the-world sailing trip.

The couple lived in Moreton Paddox, a small hamlet in the Stratford-on-Avon district near Wellesbourne, for around 25 years.

St Lucian police say three people are in custody and a murder investigation has been launched.

Margaret was treated for injuries sustained in the attack but has since been released from hospital and is now helping police with their enquiries.

According to neighbours, the keen sailors had no children and were letting out their house while they embarked on their journey of a lifetime.

Roger Pratt was a sailing enthusiast.

Margaret had been blogging about their trip here.

In her last entry on Friday 17th January she said the couple had been planning to leave St Lucia on Thursday but local bureaucracy “intervened”.

She described Vieux Fort as “determinedly normal”, calling it a “one-horse town”, jokingly posting a photo of Roger with that horse.

Roger Pratt in the “one-horse town” of Vieux Fort before he was murdered.

Roger was a sailing enthusiast and according to the local vicar, a former engineer for Jaguar Land Rover in Gaydon.

The news of his death has shocked the residents of Moreton Paddox.

Lavinia O'Shaughnessy had known the couple for 15 years.

Yesterday, she said: “They were very sociable, Margaret is a very jovial person. When we moved here they were very kind to us, they are a nice couple.

“I'm very sad, they were some of the nicest people you'd like to meet.”

The couple have been charting their trip on Margaret's blog.

Rev John Parker, vicar of the Midfosse parishes which includes Moreton Paddox, said prayers for the couple had been said at yesterday’s services.

“I think among the people there is genuine shock that something like this can happen to someone local from a fairly quite part of South Warwickshire,” he told the Herald.

“What should have been a fabulous occasion, a trip of a lifetime, has turned out so tragic. My thoughts and prayers are with Margaret.”

A photo of the picturesque island of St Lucia uploaded by Margaret.

The sailing community have also paid their condolences.

The Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club said in a statement: “The club was stunned and saddened this morning to hear of the tragic death of club member Roger Pratt aboard his yacht 'Magnetic Attraction' moored at St Lucia in the Caribbean.

“The Commodore, Anthony Knights, flag officers and members send their sincere condolences to his widow, Margaret and all other members of the family.”