The years can never erase the images of our slaughtered loved ones

Family of McLean's victims share their pain in court

Sunday, April 15, 2018

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This is a lightly edited version of the victim impact statement made by Sharon Mohamed, on behalf of her family, in the trial of Michael McLean, the 51-year-old businessman who was convicted of the February 2006 murders of six members of a family in St Thomas.

Mohamed's daughter, Patrice Martin-McCool, was one of the six victims. The others were McLean's girlfriend, Terry-Ann Mohammed; two-year-old Lloyd McCool; Jihad McCool, six; Sean Chin, eight; and Jesse O'Gilvie, nine.

Last Thursday, McLean 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.

The statement was allowed under Section 42(a) (h) (b) 2015 of the Criminal Justice Administration Amendment Act.

“How can one express their emotions or feelings after experiencing the murder of their daughter, their grand- kids — all babies, none pass the age of 10? Their sister that they all grew up with for 43 years, and her son, our nephew, also under the age of 10? The hurt the anger, the fear, the frustration; robbed of the enjoyment of family. I never got to meet my grandson Marshall. He would have turned 3 in July of 2006 the year he was brutally murdered. Sean never lived to celebrate his ninth birthday at the party that was being planned that Sunday, the day his body was found on the beach.

“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 of a family member, someone on the bus or in the street that resembles their killer, amongst other little every day happenings, serve as a catalyst that takes us back to that dreadful day when we saw our beautiful family members' lifeless bodies lying with their throats slashed and stab wounds, or the half-burnt body of Teenie, or Jihad's eyes and tongues protruding. No, that is not how one wants to remember their loved ones.

“The years can never erase the images that constantly flash across our minds like a never-ending movie. Can you imagine how scared they all were? Out there in the dark, lonely bushes? our poor, innocent babies! Mothers, helpless against a beast snuffing out the lives of their suckling kids. We still hear their screams in our heads. They lost their lives so easily because they trusted an individual; this trust made it so easy for them to have gone willingly with their killer for a ride home. This trust ultimately led them all to their death. It plays on our minds how Teenie and Jihad died, never knowing of the death of the others just a few hours before.

“This hurts; we just cannot stop these thoughts. Our imaginations run out of control numerous times trying to comprehend the ordeal our loved ones went through.

The psychological effects of this crime are too numerous to mention, as they differ for each family member. but generally, we all are suffering deep depression and anxiety. Fareka's brother has serious mental issues since that day he went and identified their mutilated, lifeless bodies strewn in bushes, scattered like trash. It has affected his ability to work and provide for his family emotionally and financially. Can you imagine viewing the decomposing body of your once-beautiful and loving niece?

“Teenie's surviving older son is still scared; he was only 12 years old at the time. We all have had to work assiduously to keep him feeling safe and less-troubled, and her youngest is scarred for life; he was just four years old. They still need years of therapy to deal with their mother's and brother's murder. As if the murdering of our loved ones was not enough, we are having to now deal with the lies told in court by their killer, these lies that tarnish the reputation of our humble and simple family.

“When we read some of the negative comments made by a few persons about our family members who they did not even know, it hurts us all to the core. Yes, it was only a few, but it was a few too much. Luckily we have friends, very dear friends, who never tire from comforting us even though they suffered too. We are comforted too by the fact that all who lived in our district knew that the dirt-slinging were all lies. We were poor and humble but well-loved by our neighbours all around.

“Our dad, granddad and great granddad never recovered from this; he died a broken man. He never lived to see justice served. I now suffer with diabetes due to bad eating habits and lack of physical activities, as I have no spirit or energy to do anything else but eat and shut myself away in the confines of my room.

“We suffered financially too; with not a clue of what we were dealing with and with news swirling about the manipulative prowess of their killer. We incurred tremendous expenses with home security and relocations. Our father had to be placed in a home as his primary caregiver was murdered; this hurt emotionally and financially.

“Years of travel expenses, such as for court appearances and cost for medical treatments needed because of this crime, also took their toll. The Government and Opposition, with the help of the members of parliament from both sides and our close family friends, made sure our family members were given a respectful burial, and to them we will be eternally grateful. As difficult as it may be, we visit the cemetery and we incur costs to beautify the resting place of the beautiful souls all laying there.

“At the funeral service the authorities promised us that justice would be delivered. It took 12 years, but it was indeed delivered. We are finally getting some closure. Thank you, God; thank you, Justice Morrison, DPP Llewellyn and Francis, detectives Bell and James along with all the other law enforcement officers, the brave witnesses, the jurors, the media, and all who gave their support on social media.

“Remembering them is easy, we do that every day, but the aches in our hearts will never go away.”

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