Justice was served!

Relatives of murdered St Thomas six welcome prison sentence for killer

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, April 13, 2018



RELATIVES of the two women and four children who were brutally murdered in St Thomas 12 years ago are happy with the sentence given to their killer, Michael McLean, but say they wish he had been given more than 48 years in prison.

The 51-year-old businessman was given six life terms and sentenced to 60 years in prison before being eligible for parole. However, his sentence was reduced by 12 years for time served.

McLean was convicted of six counts of murder on March 6 by a unanimous verdict in relation to the death of his girlfriend, Terry-Ann Mohammed, her niece Patrice Martin-McCool and children Lloyd McCool, two; Jihad McCool, six; Sean Chin, eight; and Jesse O'Gilvie, nine, in St Thomas in February 2006.

The bodies of five of the victims, including Mohammed, were found in bushes with their throats slashed, with Mohammed's torso severely burnt.

The sixth victim, Jihad, was found a week later in a shallow grave in St Mary.

Following sentencing by Justice Bertram Morrison in the Home Circuit Court yesterday, the victims' relatives expressed joy and relief.

“I am happy for the number of years that he got. I think it could have been more, but I thank God that he got so many years and I hope he doesn't live to see those years to actually come out of prison,” said Martin-McCool's mother, Sharon Mohammed, who travelled from overseas with her sister Sandra to attend yesterday's hearing.

“The system was okay. Justice has been served. It took a while, but nothing done before the time and we are happy for the end result,” she added.

The mother, who today still grieves the loss of her only daughter and a grandchild she had never met, is upset with the killer.

“I ask God to forgive me because he has shattered my heart, but I ask God not to let him shatter my soul,” she said.

“It is not fair for somebody to snuff out the life of another and all those kids. What could the kids have done to him? Nothing!” she said.

“What else could a kid do a big, strong man like that?” Sharon asked, noting that her anger over the incident has subsided.

“One of the things that make me angry is that he is not admitting that he killed them and he is bringing up a lot of nasty things about them being involved in drugs and guns when nothing is like that. However, now that he has been found guilty a lot of people will tell you what he used to do, and trust me, the things that I've heard since I came on Monday would have made God angry,” she said further.

Sandra, who described McLean as an evil monster, said she, too, was happy with the justice system. Together with her sister, she thanked the investigator, the judge and the prosecutors, as well as the witnesses, pointing out that they all did a good job.

“Justice was served today and I hope this will teach the others a lesson; [those] out there [who] think they can kill innocent women and children and get away in this time,” she said. “He deserves what he got and I am glad he won't be able to see the light of day again, even [though] it still can't bring them back, but at least we feel a little better even though we are still hurting.”

Earlier, during the sentencing, the tearful sisters read a victims' report that they had prepared, detailing the impact of McLean's gruesome act on their family.

“How can one express their emotions or feelings after experiencing the murder of their daughter, their grandchildren — all babies none past 10. Their sister that they grew up with for 43 years and her son — our nephew, also under 10. The hurt, the anger, the fear, the frustration — robbed of the enjoyment of our family,” Sharon read while a supportive Sandra stood beside her in the witness box.

“We still have trouble sleeping, eating, even working. Our social relationships have been so affected as it becomes so difficult to trust others; the slightest disagreement by a spouse or a family member, someone on the bus, or in the streets, resemble their killers,” she added.

She told the court that the years will never be able to erase the images of their loved ones from their minds, and that they still hear their family members' screams in their heads.

“The psychological effects of this crime are too numerous to mention, as it differs for each family member, but generally we are all suffering deep depression and anxiety. Patrice's brother has serious mental issues since that day he went and identified their mutilated bodies strewn in bushes, scattered like trash. It has affected his ability to work and provide for his family, emotionally and financially,” she said.

Sharon also told the court that her grandson, who was 12 at the time of the murders, is still scared and that he and his younger brother, who was four at the time, are still in need of therapy.

“As if the murder of our loved ones was not enough, we now have to deal with the lies told in court by their killer. When we read some of the negative comments made by a few persons about our family, who they did not know, it hurts us to the core,” she said.

Sharon also told the court that their grandfather never recovered from the tragedy, and died a broken man. She said, too, that the family was also affected financially as they'd had to pay for security and for someone to care for their grandfather after his caregiver, Terry-Ann, was killed.

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