Lawyer's murder still a mystery

Police source: We are working hard to find her attackers

Sunday, September 15, 2019

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WHILE the brutal killing of promising young attorney-at-law Sashakay Fairclough has shocked, in particular, the parishes of St Ann and St James where she practises mainly, the police have no leads yet into the murder, nor has a motive been established.

Fairclough, whose age police gave as 31, but who two years ago told the Jamaica Observer that she was 27, which would make her 29 now, was shot dead as she drove her car in the Brook Green area of the northern resort town of Ocho Rios Friday evening. She succumbed to her wounds at hospital.

Her mother, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was also shot and has been admitted to hospital in a “serious but stable condition”, police sources confirmed to the Sunday Observer yesterday.

Initial police reports are that a car drove up alongside that which Fairclough and her mom were in, and armed men started firing into the vehicle, hitting Fairclough in the upper body and leg.

Police said that Fairclough's mother was shot in the abdomen.

One police source said that the incident had all the ingredients of a contract-style killing but insisted that it was too early to conclude that.

“We are continuing our investigations. So far, we have no leads, but we will stop at nothing to apprehend the attackers,” one senior police officer who asked not to be named, because he was not leading the investigation, told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

“Nothing clear has emerged so far, and as usual you hear a lot of people speculating about all kinds of things, ranging from personal stuff and even politics was mentioned, but there is nothing to suggest such a link,” the senior man continued.

Fairclough was said to be the granddaughter of the legendary accountant Osmond Theodore “OT” Fairclough, the man credited with putting forward the idea of forming Jamaica's now longest serving political organisation the People's National Party, which was officially launched in 1938 following the beginning of two years of deliberations and strategy planning by its leading figures, among them Norman Manley, the first president and a former chief minister and premier of Jamaica, now a national hero; his wife Edna; Frank Hill, Ken Hill, HP Jacobs, Florizel Glasspole, Neol “Crab” Nethersole, Rev O G Penso, W C McFarlane, and Sir Howard Cooke.

One of Sashakay Fairclough's friends said she had toyed with the idea of becoming involved in politics, but that it was not pushed very far.

The young attorney, who is British-trained and who has been called to the Bar in both the United Kingdom and Jamaica, had told the Observer in an article written by staff reporter Kimberley Hibbert in December 2017 that she used her life story as an inspiration to others.

The Charles Town, western St Mary-born Fairclough moved to the nearby parish of St Ann at age six and attended Holy Childhood High School in St Andrew, from which she matriculated to the University of Huddersfield in England to read for a Bachelor of Law degree.

In the Observer feature article, Fairclough told a story of how prevailing conditions helped to instil discipline in her, making sacrifices in England while doing odd chores which included standing deep in snow begging money for charitable organisations.

“Most people did not even bother to stop. I was determined to eat that night, so I stood there from early in the morning until around 6:30 pm, with no gloves on, holding the tin cup and shivering like a leaf. I managed to collect enough money and was paid about 10 for the day. I went home with the worst cold of my life, but did the job for two weeks until I found another,” she said in the near two-year-old interview.

She was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2014 and returned to Jamaica a year later to enrol in Norman Manley Law School's certification programme. She was called to the Jamaican Bar in November 2017.

In the Observer 2017 article, Fairclough also knocked the practice of bullying, which she said she came face to face with in her travels.

“I was bullied a lot growing up. I was really shy, and some people took that to mean that I was arrogant. I was physically assaulted once, and the rest was verbal and emotional bullying. I was beaten up by about four or five boys when I was in primary school; I wasn't hurt badly and only had some bruises. It happened because one said he liked me and I said I didn't like him back. He was really popular and the others thought I 'dissed' their friend by rejecting him. This made me terrified of men for many years. It's hard to understand, but I was already painfully shy, so when this happened I thought all men were violent. I cannot imagine how much worse it must be for children who are physically bullied every day; the level of trauma is unprecedented. I am saddened by the increase in suicide among children who are bullied — it is hard because children just want to fit in. If you are being physically bullied, do not be afraid to report it to a teacher or principal,” she stated.

Fairclough, the article stated, had plans to write a book which would have been inspired by crime-based stories in Jamaica.

She also placed her hands in the field of journalism, writing for English, Cayman Islands, United States and Jamaica publications, as well as participating in youth discussion programmes aired on Nationwide Radio.

Officials of the Northern Jamaica Lawyers' Group, to which she was affiliated, have publicly condemned the attack on their colleague and her mother.


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