WOODGROVE, Trelawny — Twenty-four-year-old Kelly-Ann Smith insists that had the police reacted to her distress calls, her two daughters — Kimocoya, four, and K-alee, two — would not have been butchered by their father, 33-year-old farmer Kenville Mullings, last week in this rural district.
"If they had come when I called them we would go down there and he wouldn't get the chance to kill them," a stoic Smith told the Jamaica Observer.
She reflected that having ended a seven-year relationship with Mullings two Thursdays ago, she left their Trelawny home and took their two daughters to live with her mother in Coleyville, Manchester.
However, on Monday, Mullings journeyed across the border to his ex-girlfriend's mother's place where he managed to snatch the two little girls from the care of their mother and sped back to his Woodgrove home in a motor car he borrowed from one of his friends.
"I did not want to leave the kids with him when he came for them. I told him not to go away with them, but he ran off the hill. He said as long as he had them he would have me. I told him he is not going to [use] the girls to catch me. So me nah come with him," Smith recalled.
Mullings, however, returned minutes after 1:00 Tuesday morning and called Smith, informing her that he had returned with the two infants.
It was reported that when she went to lift her daughters from the vehicle, Mullings attacked her and held a machete to her throat.
Smith managed to escape the firm grasp of her enraged, estranged spouse, after her mother hurled stones at him, one of which smashed the car's windscreen.
But he managed to drive away with the two babies.
The distraught mother said she then alerted the Wait-a-Bit police, who are situated less than a mile from Mullings' Woodgrove home, but she said they informed her that they could not respond as Manchester was outside their jurisdiction.
Neither did she get any assistance from the Christiana police, who she said told her they were unable to take a report over the phone. She was, however, unable to access transportation to the police station during the wee hours.
About 1:30 am, Mullings' body was found hanging from the roof of his house, while the older girl was found inside lying prostrate in a pool of blood with her throat slashed. During a search of the premises, the body of the younger child was discovered in the yard, covered with a jacket just outside a building which was used as a bathroom.
"The police never come when mi call them. Mi call Wait-a-Bit and mi call Christiana. Mi call Wait-a-Bit, they said it was not their region. So mi call Christiana, and when mi call Christiana, the man say mi can't make a statement over the phone mi have to come to Christiana. I told him that this time of the night (early morning) where I am to get vehicle from? The man replied to me, 'you don't live that bad, you must can get a ride'," she told the Sunday Observer.
The Wait-a-Bit Police Station is about a mile and a half away from Woodgrove, while the Christiana Police Station is about twice that distance away from Coleyville.
Last week, in an obvious reference to that and other recent incidents, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington issued a release informing his subordinates that "there is one police jurisdiction and that jurisdiction is Jamaica".
"Recently, there have been many reports of citizens being turned away by police personnel and being told to visit or call other stations, or other police offices because these reports are being made at the 'wrong' station.
"This practice is incorrect, and every effort will be made through training and sensitisation to educate members of the JCF and its auxiliaries as to the proper and correct procedures to follow when dealing with reports from citizens," Ellington stated.
"I want to re-emphasise that no citizen making a crime report, a report of any offence, or a request for any kind of police service at a police station or by telephone should be re-directed to another police station or office," the commissioner added.
In the meantime, even in the midst of her distress, Smith found time to joke about how the relationship between herself and Mullings started.
She told the Sunday Observer that one day, about midday when she went to visit her aunt, who was working in a grocery shop in Woodgrove, she opened and sat in the rear passenger seat of a station wagon parked near to the shop, without permission.
The driver turned out to be Mullings, who arrived on the scene, opened the car door and planted a kiss firmly on her lips, to her chagrin.
"Mi open the car door and started to curse him. Mi say, 'You dog, John Crow! I don't know where you come from come, come kiss me!' And mi curse him for two weeks straight. Then mi just start to fall for him, and we started to talk. Oh God," she laughed.
She said after they fell in love she moved in with the farmer and became pregnant the same year with twins, which she eventually lost.
Two years after, she again became pregnant and gave birth to Kimocoya. But during that same year problems began to surface in the relationship after she discovered that her spouse was having a relationship with another woman in the community.
"Anyway, me play along with him same way," Smith explained.
But she noted that the rocky relationship reached boiling point in the early part of December last year and they ended up fighting over his persistent accusations that she was cheating on him with one of his cousins.
"About the second week in December last year we started to argue, because he accused me of having man — but nothing was like that. I did not like it, so mi start to avoid him and tell him to avoid me," she said.
She also spoke of the love Mullings displayed toward his two girls, the same ones he is believed to have murdered so violently last week.
In the aftermath of his gruesome act, Smith said that she still cannot fathom how the man she once loved was able to commit such a horrendous act.