DPP labels multiple-murder accused a liar with a cold heart

Observer staff reporter

Friday, February 23, 2018

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Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn yesterday labelled Michael McLean a man with a cold heart as she accused him of lying to the court about the murder of his girlfriend and her five relatives in St Thomas 12 years ago.

“You know, Mr McLean, you are a liar, and it is outrageous how you have sat there and lied to the court,” the lead prosecutor told the accused, while cross-examining him at length yesterday about his story about how his girlfriend, Terry-Ann Mohammed, and her grand-niece, six-year-old Jihad McCool, were killed.

The two, along with Jihad's mother Patrice McCool and her siblings, Sean Chin and Lloyd McCool, as well as Mohammed's son, Jesse Ogilvie, were all killed between February 25 and 26, 2006.

Five of the victims, with the exception of Jihad, were found in St Thomas with their throats slashed. Mohammed, who also had severe burns to her body, was found in Needham Pen while the others were found on or near a beach in Prospect. Jihad, who died from suffocation, was found buried in a shallow grave in Rosemount, St Mary, on March 2.

Yesterday, McLean, during his cross-examination, maintained his account of the incident — which he gave in his sworn testimony — that on the night of February 25, 2006 he took Mohammed and Jihad home when four men in two cars accosted them with high-powered guns in search of Mohammed's cousin who, he said, had reportedly stolen guns. He said one of the men left with Mohammed while two others got into his car and he directed them to Rosemount where Mohammed had hidden a large sum of money and cocaine and while there they snatched Jihad from him and he saw them holding her down in the ground.

McLean, in his account of the incident, made no mention of him being present at Prospect beach when four of the victims were killed, in contrast to what the court previously heard he had told the police in his caution statement.

The accused, under cross-examination, also insisted that he did not go to Prospect beach and that on the night of February 25 he took Mohammed home after dropping off his chef.

The 50-year-old chef admitted that Jihad was McLean's favourite of all the children and that they all called him “daddy”. However, he told the court that McLean did not make any attempt to rescue the child after the men snatched her from his arms.

McLean, who described Jihad as his “heart”, said there was nothing he could do and that the men had machine guns.

The prosecutor however asked why the men took the child and left him who was in a sexual and business relationship with Mohammed at the time. McLean replied that the men knew him to be a businessman and did not have a problem with him.

He said they took the child because she was related to Mohammed.

When asked how the child behaved during the incident, McLean said she was quiet for most of the time and at one point asked him, “Daddy, are we going home?” and he said, “Okay, baby, everything going to be alright.”

He told the court that when he and the men left Rosemount without Jihad he did not ask them for her as his main concern was to keep quiet.

McLean was also asked why he had not told his ex-fiancée about Jihad and Mohammed when he called her right after the incident and, also, why he did not call the police to rescue the child.

In reply he said he could not tell his ex-fiancée about the incident, although he trusted her with his life, because it was bigger than her and he was fearful for his life and for her and his children. Also, the accused said he did not call the police first because he wanted to clear his head and did not trust them as well.

The DPP asked him why he did not call his best friend, who was a cop, or his childhood friend who was also a policeman, and he said because he feared for his life.

The accused also indicated that he had his cellphone throughout the horrifying incident that left him urinating in his pants, but he did not think to call the cops.

According to him, he was very shaken and traumatised. However, during cross-examination he admitted that he still had the presence of mind to get his car, sneakers and clothes washed and even had a “quickie” with his ex.

McLean denied seeing the men's faces, which he said were covered with handkerchiefs but indicated that he recognised two of them by their build and voices.

But, when asked by the DPP why the men left him, given that he knew them, he said at the time they did not know that he knew them, even though he had seen them when they visited his restaurant.

McLean also insisted that he did not stop the police while they were recording his caution statement and told them the he wanted to show them where Jihad was buried.

According to him, the police asked him to show them where the drugs and money were stashed and when they went there they found Jihad's body.

The accused also told the court that he did not know how Jihad's body ended up in a shallow grave as he did not see the men digging, nor did he see them with any tools for digging.

The prosecutor however suggested to him that he was the one who had suffocated the child and buried her because he could not bear to slash her throat like the others, but he denied it.

He also denied making up the story about the gunmen, drugs and gun as a distraction from the truth and a figment of his imagination while maintaining that he had nothing to do with the deaths of the victims who, he said, were his best friends and family.

McLean, during his sworn testimony, also told the court that police investigators had abused him and had tortured him. He also claimed that one of them had put an electric cord on his testicles and had shocked him several times.

The DPP however suggested to him that he was lying about being abused and about being shocked on his testicles and he insisted that it was the truth claiming he had the scars on his private part to prove it.

The trial will continue today in the Home Circuit Court.

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