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updated 12/28/2010 6:49:46 PM ET 2010-12-28T23:49:46

A Canadian tourist has been charged with attempted murder in Jamaica, accused of slitting his wife's throat in a rental car and fabricating a phony carjacking story, police said Tuesday.

Police Superintendent Linette Williams-Martin alleged that 43-year-old Paul Martin attacked his wife with a kitchen knife on a rutted dirt road in Falmouth, a northern coastal community near the popular resorts of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.

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Police believe that Martin, of Ajax, Ontario, attacked his wife shortly after she told him she wanted to separate — on the last day of a vacation he organized in a bid to save their rocky marriage.

"They were having marital problems in Canada. So they came to Jamaica to work things out, but it didn't work out at all," Williams-Martin said by phone from Falmouth.

Cathy Lee Martin, 34 years old and also from Ajax, underwent surgery after the Dec. 23 attack and has been released from a hospital.

The suspect, whom the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said was a fifth-grade teacher at an Ajax school, appeared Tuesday for a preliminary court hearing in Falmouth. It was not immediately clear if he was required to enter a plea or if he had a lawyer. Cathy Lee Martin was expected to testify at a second hearing before leaving Jamaica.

Investigators say that after Cathy Lee Martin told her husband she wanted to split, he drove their rental car to an isolated area instead of heading to Montego Bay's airport for their flight home, saying he wanted to take a few more snapshots of the Jamaican countryside.

As they drove, police say, he attacked.

Williams-Martin said Cathy Lee Martin fought back. A taxi driver who happened to be traveling along the isolated road saw the struggle, spun around and found the bleeding woman at the side of the road after she apparently managed to jump out of the vehicle.

He notified police, and detectives found the suspect sitting in the rental car farther down the road.

Williams-Martin said the husband invented a story about being carjacked by a Jamaican man who attacked his wife.

"His wife is telling a very different story," Williams-Martin said, adding that a knife was found in Martin's possession. "He was quite calm, I'm told."

A Canadian foreign affairs spokeswoman said in an e-mail that the office was aware of reports of an incident involving Canadians in Jamaica, but could not address specifics due to privacy considerations.

Phone calls to the Canadian Consulate in Kingston went unanswered.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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