News

Arsonists torch house while man slept

Evil Death

BY KARYL WALKER Editor - Crime/Court Desk walkrk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014    

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CARLENE McLeod could do nothing but 'speak in tongues' as she stood metres from the spot where the charred body of her son lay covered by a white sheet in what was once his one-room dwelling at Upper Somerset Avenue in Franklyn Town, East Kingston, yesterday.

Her son, 41-year-old Michael Rose, also called 'Bear', died at the hands of evil arsonists who reportedly crept up to his home while he was asleep and torched the building, police at the scene of the tragedy told the Jamaica Observer. The incident happened around 3:00 am.

For McLeod it was a familiar experience, as Rose was her fourth son to die tragically.

Years ago, her young son perished after being hit by a train. Another was killed by gunmen at Stony Hill, St Andrew, while yet another died at the hands of gunmen in downtown Kingston a few years ago.

The tragedy was too much for the elderly woman to bear, and as her grandchildren urged her not to look at the burnt remains of her son, she wailed uncontrollably, speaking in an unfamiliar language. One of Rose's grieving daughters, Tadesha, tried her best to comfort her.

With tears rolling down her cheeks, the daughter of the dead man said that she was unaware of any rancour between her father and anybody, and was puzzled by her father's terrible demise.

"Is Sunday I see him, you know. Him was riding past my house and me run out and ask him, 'Daddy, how you a pass my yard and don't stop and talk to me?" the younger Rose said before breaking into tears.

Like in other inner-city communities, residents who gathered behind the police yellow tape said they were unaware of what could have led to Rose's death and stared blankly when asked if there was any tension in the community.

One resident was overheard saying that the grille to Rose's house was padlocked and it appeared that he had no chance of escaping the fire, which spread quickly.

The police, meanwhile, reported that a feud has been ongoing between men from Upper Somerset Avenue and York Street. Both streets run parallel.

"There has been tension in that section of Franklyn Town recently as rivals feud over 'God He knows' [what]. It is tragic, as we have no information that this man was involved in any gang activity," one policeman said.

Rose was a small farmer, and in his yard there were rows of corn, okras, pak choy, tomatoes, bananas and plantains. There were also several fruit trees and a small block-making machine in his yard.

The East Kingston police said yesterday that they would have to wait until an autopsy is conducted before they can ascertain

whether Rose was shot before the fire was set.

However, residents said they heard no explosions.

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