Bloody December to Remember for Jamaican Women: 15 Savaged in Christmas Bloodletting Spree

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UPDATE (Correction): I reported in error that 14 women were victims of violence when the actual count was 15. Thirteen (13) women died from these attacks in the month of December. 

December 2016 may yet go on record as the bloodiest December to remember for attacks on Jamaican women in recent times.

The recent spate of reported murders and violent attacks continued unabated over the Christmas holidays.

In the latest incident, the St Thomas police are now looking for the boyfriend of 19-year-old Tashoy Barrett who was found with her throat slashed in her Arcadia home in St Thomas on Boxing Day. Her boyfriend is the chief suspect in the murder.

On Christmas Day, Monique Woolery, 27, of Llandilo, Westmoreland was shot and killed while walking with a male companion in Norwood, St James.

5 Killed in One Week

 

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Grieving women comfort each other after Boxing Day killing Photo Credits: Shanna-kay Monteith/The Gleaner

 

These latest incidents over the Christmas weekend bring the death toll to 13 and culminates a month of bloodletting in which five women were killed in one single week, December 5-10, one per day.

Eight of the 14 women killed or injured were said to be victims of domestic abuse, crimes of passion committed at the hands of their ex-lovers. Gun violence and bludgeoning were the other causes of death in the six other non-domestic crimes reported.  The women’s ages ranged from 18 to 73 years old.

The rampage has once again pushed the issue of violence against women into the public spotlight.

Majority Cases Still Unresolved

With just four days left in the month, the majority of the cases remains unresolved by the Jamaican police even as the death toll climbs for reported female deaths.

Checks made last week with the Constabulary Communication Network, the information arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to ascertain if any further apprehensions had been made in the cases being investigated did not produce any confirmations at the time this post went live. Follow up conversations with a CCN officer today revealed that the Department’s activities have been scaled down as many of the officers have been deployed to the streets. I was directed to resend my request to CCN spokesperson, Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay. As soon as that information becomes available I will share.

Death Toll Timeline

This round up traces the timeline of the bloodletting violence against 14 Jamaican women as reported between December 2 and December 26 in various news outlets. The incidents are arranged from most recent to the earliest.

14. Fatal Knife Attack: Tashoy Barrett – Monday, December 26, 2016 -Arcadia, St Thomas

Residents found the 19-year-old woman dead with her throat slashed in her Arcadia home in St Thomas on Boxing Day. The Police are looking for her boyfriend said to be the chief suspect in her killing. The Morant Bay CIB is investigating.

News Credit: jamaica-gleaner.com

13. Fatal Shooting: Monique Woolery – Sunday, December 25, 2016 – Norwood, St James

Woolery, 27 of Llandilo, Westmoreland was shot and killed while walking with her male companion in Norwood, St James on Christmas Day. According to this report, a white car with three armed gunmen aboard drove up and started firing shots at the couple who took cover in a shop. When the shooting ended, Woolery and three other men were pronounced dead. Her male companion was reportedly not hurt.

News Credit: Loop News

12. NonFatal Stabbing: Unnamed Victim – Monday, December 19, 2016 – Runaway Bay, St Ann

On Monday, security personnel at the Bahia Principe Hotel in Runaway Bay, St Ann intervened and saved a woman from a man identified as her ex- boyfriend who was inflicting stab wounds on her. The security officer, a licensed firearm holder reportedly fired one round which hit her attacker’s body, exited and caught her 17-year old son. The injured woman and her son were taken to the St Ann’s Bay Hospital where they are recuperating from their injuries. The woman, a hotel employee was attending a staff party organised by the hotel when the incident happened.

Latest on Investigations: On December 20, a day after the incident, media reports revealed that the attacker succumbed to his injuries twhile undergoing treatment in hospital. He was identified as taxi operator, 39-year-old Leo Henry from a St Ann address.

News Credit: Nationwide 90 FM, The Jamaica Observer

11. Fatal Throat Slashing: Unidentified Victim – Saturday, December 17, 2016 – Buck Toe Lane, St James

According to a Loop News report published on December 17, the police in St James are investigating the murder of an unidentified woman whose body was found with the throat slashed Saturday morning.

Residents had called the police, about 10:00 am, about a body in the Buck Toe Lane area — between Salt Spring and Cornwall Courts, the online news source stated. The St James Police are investigating.

News Credit: LoopJamaica.com

10. Fatal Machete Attack: Joycelyn Gomez – Friday, December 16, 2016 –Falmouth, Trelawny

Just before 8:00 a.m., 71-year old pensioner, Joycelyn Gomez went to the post office to collect her pension. While sitting on the steps, she was approached and brutally hacked to death by a man said to be of unsound mind. He was detained by the Falmouth police.

News Credit: The Jamaica Observer

9. Fatal Knife Attack: Jennifer Garrison – Friday, December 16, 2016 – Dias, Hanover

An hour and a half later on the same day in Hanover, a  husband pulled a knife and stabbed his wife to death during an altercation at their family home. She was rushed to the Noel Holmes hospital where she died. Her husband was later detained by the police.

8. Fatal Knife Attack: Alisa Garey – Wednesday, December 14, 2016 – Ocho Rios, St Ann

Two days prior, a female bartender,  20-year-old Alisa Garey was killed by her ex-lover at Champion Plaza along the Ocho Rios Bypass in broad daylight. She had just reported threats to the police after her attacker came to her home earlier and threatened to kill her. Her ex-lover was later arrested by the police.

7. Fatal Knife Attack: Shantay Thelwell – Sunday, December 11, 2016 – Sandy Bay, Hanover

More domestic-violence related bloodletting was reported on Sunday after 18-year-old Shantay Thelwell was fatally stabbed by her ex-lover following a heated dispute in her Sandy Bay, Hanover home on Sunday morning. The Hanover CIB is investigating.

6. Fatal Beating: Kerry-Ann Wilson – Saturday, December 10, 2016 – St Andrew

Kerry-Ann Wilson, a 31-year-old resident of Crystal Towers Apartments in St Andrew was not so lucky after her construction worker lover beat her to death, wrapped her body in tarpaulin and was attempting to dispose of her body in a nearby gully. Interestingly, her body was found just across from the Office of the Police Commissioner. Her attacker is now in police custody.

5. Gunshot Wounds: Unnamed Police Spouse – Thursday, December 8, 2016 – Manchester

Loop News reported that  December 8, a Manchester police officer was being investigated after his girlfriend was found suffering from gunshot wounds. Superintendent Wayne Cameron, head of the Manchester Police Division, confirmed the incident, adding that it was being treated as a case of ‘accidental discharge of firearm.’

4. Fatal Knife Attack: Herma-Lyn Bell – Wednesday, December 7, 2016 — Point Hill, St Catherine

The quiet was shattered in the sleepy village of Point Hill when news broke that 45-year-old Herma-Lyn Bell was chopped to death by her common-law husband in their Point Hill, St Catherine home in what has been described as a “crime of passion.”

 3. Fatal Beating: Dawn Loney –  Tuesday, December 6, 2016 – Westmoreland

Dawn Loney, 53, of Chantilly Gardens, Westmoreland was bludgeoned to death when a man forcibly gained entry to her home and attacked her repeatedly with a stone.

 2. Fatal Gunshot Wounds: Chrissy Vaughn – Monday, December 5, 2016 – Bogue, St James

Lecturer and popular mortician ‘Chrissy’ Vaughan, 31, was found in her car with gunshot wounds to the head on December 5, following a shooting incident in Montego Bay.

News reports are that the shooting occurred sometime after 2 a.m. outside a club in Bogue Village, St James. Vaughan was among a group of patrons when a fight broke out between two members of the bunch. Shots were fired and Vaughan was later found slumped over her steering wheel with a gunshot wound to the head, the news said.

1. Reprisal Killing by Intruders: Lina and Lissette Powell – Friday, December 2, 2016 – Craighead, Manchester.

RJRNews (rjrnewsonline.com) reported that a mother, 73-year-old Lina Powell and daughter, 44-year-old Lissette were among three members of the same family who were killed and their house burnt to the ground by intruders on Friday night. Residents reported that they had also heard gunshots. The Manchester Police who are investigating has linked the deaths to a long-standing dispute over property involving Delroy Powell, the son/brother who was also killed and the suspect who it is alleged had lived in the family house a year ago.

Conclusion

As indignation in the public space continues to rise pertaining to the killing of women especially by their partners, the discussion women, women advocates and leaders should be having now are about the importance of self-care and self-preservation. Self-defense/protection skills and counseling support can go a far way in changing the trajectory of women becoming victims of their relationships and their known and unknown attackers.

Share your thoughts on this thorny topic

  • How can women decrease their vulnerability ?
  • What red flags can women be aware of in an abusive relationship or in public from a stranger? How can she prepare herself?
  • Do you think enough is being done in Jamaica to protect a woman once she’s reported a threat to the police?