Crown closes case in multiple murder trial

Observer staff reporter

Saturday, February 17, 2018

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The prosecution yesterday closed its case in the murder trial of Michael McLean, the St Thomas businessman accused of slashing the throats of five family members in that parish in 2006 and burying a sixth member in a shallow grave in St Mary.

Lead prosecutor, Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Jeremy Taylor — who took over from the Director of Public Prosecution Paula Llewellyn — closed the Crown's case after McLean's lawyer, Carlton Colman, completed cross-examining retired Deputy Superintendent of Police Carlos Bell, who was among a team of police officers which had investigated the gruesome killings.

Bell was among 12 witnesses called by the prosecution.

The trial was, however, adjourned early after Colman indicated in the Supreme Court that he was unable to start and needed time to speak to the witnesses he would be calling.

The 50-year-old chef is on trial for killing his girlfriend, Terry-Ann Mohammed, 42; her son, Jessie O'Gilvie, 9; her aunt Patrice Martin-McCool, 30; and her aunt's children, Lloyd McCool 3, Jihad McCool, 6 and Sean Chin, 9, between February 25 and 26.

Four of the victims were found on Prospect Beach in St Thomas with their throats slashed, while Mohammed was found in bushes in Needham Pen, also in the parish, with burns all over her body and her throat also slashed.

The decomposing body of Jihad was found in a shallow grave in St Mary a week after the killings.

It was disclosed during the trial that five of the victims died as result of a wound to the neck, while Jihad died from suffocation.

During the trial, one of prosecution witnesses, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Granville Gauze, testified that McLean — while giving a caution statement in Kingston — stopped the proceedings and led investigators to the spot where Jihad's body was found.

Another witness, McLean's maid and nanny, testified that on the evening of February 25 the accused had rushed home and had left the house with a machete, a chopper and a shovel, while one of McLean's ex-employees told the court that he last saw Mohammed and Jihad in the company of the accused, who was taking them home after 10 in the night on February 25.

McLean's ex-fiancée also told the court that he had called her at 4:30 am on February 26 asking her to meet him, and shortly after picked her up at a cross road near her home in St Mary, after requesting that she bring shampoo to wash his hair.

The witness, who said she had a child with the accused and had broken off their engagement two months earlier because of infidelity, also testified that when she saw him he was dirty and his car was muddy and had vegetation hanging off.

The woman also told the court they spent the day and Sunday night at a hotel and that McLean later asked her to tell her father that he had spent the night at her home.

The defence is expected to present its case before Justice Bertram Morrison when the trial resumes on Monday.

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