Relative of beheaded women says can't eat meat anymore

Senior staff reporter

Friday, December 13, 2019

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THE excruciating pain and loss experienced by the family of Charmaine Rattray and her daughter Joeith Lynch when both were brutally chopped, shot and beheaded in their house in July 2011 was relayed in a victim impact statement read to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, moments before Justice Vivene Harris sentenced the four men convicted of the gruesome crime to life in prison.

“I was one of the persons who had to go to the post-mortem to identify the bodies — the headless bodies. When I saw the chops on them you can see that they were fighting for their lives. But the worst thing for me was the heads — one was just skull and hair, and the other was stink, because it was in the river water and had started decaying,” said the relative, who cannot be identified by name or gender by order of the judge.

“What kind of people have the heart to do this to someone? Chop them, shoot them, and then cut their head off. Then you throw their heads away like their life is worth nothing.

“I don't go to St Catherine at all, I'm paranoid. I don't sleep well. I have lost weight, I am unable to eat meat with chopped bone because the images are still fresh in my mind,” said the relative.

The condemned four — Adrian Campbell, Roshane Goldson, Fabian Smith, and Kemar Riley — were before the courts since November to face charges for the horrific killings of 18-year-old Lynch and 40-year-old Rattray in Lauriston, St Catherine. Also charged was Sanjay Ducally.

Campbell, Goldson and Smith, in a surprise move, pleaded guilty to non-capital murder just ahead of the start of the trial on the morning of November 6 in the Criminal Division of the Home Circuit Court.

Riley and Ducally, however, opted to go to trial, with Ducally walking free following a successful no-case submission by his lawyers. Riley was subsequently found guilty by a jury of seven in late November.

In the trial, which lasted some 15 working days, it emerged that a group of about eight or nine males invaded the women's home at 46 Berry Drive in the dead of night on July 19, 2011 and chopped them to near death before shooting and beheading them, leaving the house blood-drenched and discarding the heads in separate places.

On Wednesday, Justice Harris, who said she was going beyond the prescribed limits of the sentencing guidelines because of the aggravating circumstances of the case, sentenced Campbell to life imprisonment at hard labour. He will serve a minimum 44 years before being eligible for parole on both counts of the indictment.

Goldson, who is Lynch's cousin, was also slapped with a life sentence at hard labour for his role in her murder and will be eligible for parole after a minimum of 46 years. Smith also faces life at hard labour and will serve a minimum 44 years before being eligible for parole.

Riley — the only one of group who refused to cooperate with the police, and who consistently denied the testimony of a star prosecution witness who said Riley had confessed to being the one to shoot Lynch in the head that fateful night — was slapped with life imprisonment at hard labour, and will serve a minimum 52 years before being eligible for parole.

Yesterday, lead investigator in the case, retired Detective Inspector George Williams, lauded the court's decision.

“I heard the good news. I don't want to say much, but it was a heinous matter. What I will say is it was properly investigated, it was properly put together and delivered to the director of public prosecutions for them to take it further to where it landed. And I must commend the entire staff of the Major Investigation Taskforce for the work that was done,” the 37-year veteran told the Jamaica Observer.

“Justice was served,” he said, noting that the gruesome nature of the killings was only surpassed, in his opinion, by one other double murder in which he had also been the lead investigator.

“I have investigated several serious homicides, this one was not really the worst, but because of how it was done — they were shot, chopped, and beheaded. There's a matter I could compare it with, it was tried in the same courtroom. It was something similar to this,” Williams said.

Colleague investigator Detective Inspector Steadman Bailey, who was one of the first on the scene, also felt that the victims had been vindicated and sang the praises of members of the police who worked on the case.

“Justice would have been served to the family, friends, and the community at large; they were satisfied (with the sentences). It was teamwork, the investigators were very professional,” Bailey told the Observer.

“Over the course of my career, this one was the worst of them all,” Bailey noted.

“We had to go above and beyond in our effort to bring closure. The team was very hard-working; the effort by all members of the investigating team was excellent. The tasks were completed on time so the file could be ready for the trial,” he said further.

The relative who delivered the victim impact statement said the killers “have no idea the mayhem they have caused — the hurt, the pain, the anguish”.

According to the relative, Lynch, who attended The Queen's School, “was destined for greatness” and the killers “robbed her of a life, of a future, of a chance to take her mother out of poverty. That was always her dream — to move her mother from Lauriston to give her a good life”.

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