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Cop testifies that victim statement missing

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

A detective inspector yesterday disclosed during the murder trial of Michael McLean that a victim statement that the accused had given to the police implicating other persons in the murder of the six family members has gone missing.

“Up to last week I was searching [for it],” said Detective Inspector Carlton James, who testified in the Supreme Court that the file had passed through the Flying Squad, Morant Bay Criminal Investigative Branch (CIB) and Half-Way-Tree CIB.

The officer, however, testified that he had made copies of the original statement, which Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn will be seeking to put into evidence in a submission today despite objections from the accused.

The statement was given by the accused following the gruesome deaths of Terry-Ann Mohammed, 42; her son Jessie O'Gilvie, 9; her aunt, Patrice Martin McCool; and her children Sean Chin, 8; Jhaid McCool, 3 and six-year-old Lloyd McCool between February 25- 26, 2006.

Five of the victims, excluding Jhaid, were found in St Thomas with chop wounds to their necks, while Jhaid was found buried in a shallow grave in St Mary.

Detective Inspector James said he had recorded the victim's statement on February 27, 2006 from McLean who had turned himself over to police at the Morant Bay Police Station after contacting a friend that he had there.

The court heard that when McLean initially surrendered the police had no suspicions that he was involved in the murders and he had promised to cooperate.

However, Inspector James testified that while McLean was recording the statement a large crowd gathered at the station to beat him and he appeared to be nervous and was trembling.

The court further heard that because of the threat of the noisy crowd, the police had to move McLean to another station, where he completed the statement.

The court also heard testimony from two police officers, who are friends of the accused, one of whom he had called to help him surrender in 2006.

Superintendent Charmaine Shand, who knew the accused since they were children, testified that on a day after the bodies of the deceased were found she was on her way to work when McLean called her and told her that he want her to take him in, but refused to say where he was.

The officer said that McLean told her that he was an hour away from the parish and, during a continuous string of phone calls, told her that he was feeling weak and ill.

She recalled asking him where he was and he told her that he was at the roundabout in Harbour View where she and a team of police officers went for him.

The other police officer, Constable Richard Jones, whom McLean described as his best friend, testified that on the morning of February 26, 2006, when he called McLean to inform him of the deaths, he sounded astonished and his response was, “What! a soon call you back”, but he never did.

Both police witnesses, however, denied knowing about a 'drugs house' that was near to where Mohammed lived and that she and her relatives had made a report to the police a month before the murder occurred.

Superintendent Shand, during cross-examination from McLean, who is representing himself, also denied knowing about a report that Mohammed had given to an inspector that she had drugs in her possession and that she was in fear of her life.

Earlier yesterday Mohammed's neighbour testified that he was at her home on the night of February 25, 2006 and that she never returned home after calling him to check on her children.

The witness said that Mohammed had called him about 8:00 pm to say that she would be leaving work by 10:00 pm, but she never came home. He also testified that he was present when Martin and the children left the home in the evening, and that two of Mohammed children also wanted to leave, but he asked them not to, as he wanted them to attend a party he was hosting.

The accused yesterday called for a meeting with the National Integrity Action and the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), saying that he had relevant evidence to hand over.

The accused said the evidence is proof that he did not kill the victims and that he personally wants to hand over the evidence, which he claimed could implicate a lot of people.

His request was denied by Justice Bertram Morrison, who told McLean that he has had several occasions before the trial started to turn over the evidence to the two entities.

McLean's request came after he returned to court after being forcefully removed from the prisoners' dock on account of his outburst when trial started in the morning.

The trial will continue today.