Regional

Sherwood Content stunned!

71-y-o man held for elderly farmer's death

BY HORACE HINES Observer West reporter

Thursday, January 23, 2014    

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SHERWOOD CONTENT, Trelawny - A 71-year-old man remained under police guard in hospital yesterday, suspected of killing an elderly farmer in the deep rural community of Sherwood Content.

The nude body of 79 -year-old Leslie Smith, who went missing from the Sherwood Content community a week ago, was found in bushes on Sunday, plunging the normally quiet district into a state of shock and mourning.

Area residents say his lifeless body was discovered with a wound to the head, broken arms and legs, as well as bruises to the face, fuelling speculation that he was badly beaten before he died.

Smith's estranged wife and mother of two of his children, was one of the many members of the community who bemoaned his violent death when our news team visited the area on Tuesday.

"It is very, very, very bad. Me just cut up about the whole thing. Remember a me husband, and me have two kids with him and they love their father. And the grandchildren them love them grandfather," a distraught Sylvia Smith told the Jamaica Observer West.

Another female community member, who gave her name as Carmen, said she has been having sleepless nights since the death of the elderly farmer.

"Mi feel bad. Mi feel it, me feel it. Me can't sleep at nights since it happen," she rued.

Another woman expressed similar sentiments: "Him always pass and say Miss Rowe mek me carry you go a bush go mek mosquito bite you up, she quipped."Me always say, Mr Smith you gwaan where you a go."

Reginald Ellis, one of Smith's friends, said he will miss the farmer who oftentimes visited him in the evenings to chit-chat.

"Every evening mi and him down here and reason. Once rain no fall him always come here and spend a time until him ready to go home. Mi feel it feh him. Them shouldn't tek him life like that," Ellis lamented.

Family members became concerned after they did not see Smith return home from his farm -as he customarily does-where he cultivated ground provisions, last Friday evening.

But some members of the community theorised, then, that he may had gone to visit a friend, "just like he did the previous Friday."

A search was however launched for Smith the following day, when he did not show up.

On Sunday morning, members of the party reportedly saw a bicycle belonging to Smith, a few meters from his farm.

As members of the party intensified their search which took them into the a section of the community called Peru Mountain, they reportedly saw the suspect- who is from the community- coming towards them with a herd of goats and two donkeys, said to be owned by Smith.

A member of the community, who spoke to the Observer West on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the "stubborn suspect" who has held and beaten disclosed after "vigorous interrogation," the location of Smith's body.

"When wi seen him (the suspect), a youth asked him weh you a do with Leslie (Smith) goat them? He stood dumb founded. So they say where the man deh because if you have the man goat them, you must know where him deh. And a deh so the lick start. Him get lick before the police come from left, right and centre. We beg him tell we where the body deh so we can find it to bury him and no mek John Crow eat him," the resident explained.

The suspect reportedly yielded, eventually, just ahead of the arrival of a police team, who saved him from the then very angry mob.

The suspect then reportedly directed members of the search party and the police in the deep woods of Peru Mountain where Smith's nude body was seen partially hidden under the branches of trees that appeared to be freshly cut.

Smith's clothing, water boots and his machete are yet to be found, the residents say.

The incident was the second homicide to be recorded in the Trelawny Police Division since the start of the year.

Incidentally, the first murder in the parish this year was recorded in the Clark's Town police area where a 14-year-old is accused of fatally stabbing 13-year-old Jevaughnie Gordon in the sugar belt Clark's Town community.

Last year a total of 26 homicides were recorded in the parish, a 76 per cent increase over the 15 recorded in 2012.

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