News

Two women beheaded

Gunmen send chilling message by cutting off 3 heads in 3 days

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, July 21, 2011    

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CHURCH minister Charmaine Rattray and her 19-year-old daughter were yesterday morning beheaded by gunmen who invaded their Lauriston home on the outskirts of Spanish Town, St Catherine.

The macabre murders, apparently meant to send a chilling message, come days after a neighbour, 18-year-old Scott Thomas, was similarly decapitated by men believed to be his cronies from the feared Klansman gang.

Thomas' death was a result of gang infighting, the police have said, but detectives were up to last night looking into several motives that could have led to the murders of Rattray and her daughter Joyette Lynch.

"We believe the case is linked to Monday's murder of Thomas," ventured one detective who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Both women were said to be devout Christians and members of the New Life Church of God. Lynch, a former student of the Queen's High School in Kingston, was scheduled to start her law degree at the University of the West Indies in September.

The two were attacked just after dawn by the men armed with guns and machetes and who kicked open the door to their home as they slept. The women's heads were taken from the scene by the culprits who had inflicted numerous chop wounds to the victims' bodies.

Residents listened and cowered helplessly as the women's horrified screams pierced the morning's silence.

Yesterday as detectives combed the areas for clues, family members and friends of the victims wept openly. At least one woman was seen hastily gathering her belongings to leave the area.

Members of the New Life Church of God, who had gathered on the scene, were in a state of shock. Holding his head in disbelief, Bishop George Carter said there was no indication that the victims had been threatened.

"I still can't come to grips with what happened," said Carter, in a grief-filled tone.

Police have vowed to leave no stone unturned in capturing the culprits.

Last night the police imposed a curfew in sections of Spanish Town, which will remain in effect until 6:00 pm tomorrow.

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