Sat | Nov 18, 2017

Who poisoned SSP Henry? - Family demands new probe as jury fails to finger culprit

Published:Tuesday | September 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Senior Superintendent Dathan Henry.

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

A coroner's jury has found that former Senior Superintendent of Police Dathan Henry was "systematically poisoned" in 2012 but said there was not enough evidence to point the finger at those responsible.

According to presiding coroner Patrick Murphy, the seven-member jury, in their unanimous verdict, concluded that "rat insecticide" was the agent used to poison the former commanding officer for the troubled Clarendon division that has been linked to the death squad investigation.

"They [jurors] agreed that he was poisoned, but they don't have the information to say how he was poisoned or who poisoned him," Murphy explained.

The verdict, which came after 35 minutes of deliberation, means that if new information is uncovered, the police can reopen the probe into Henry's death.

The family of the late senior cop said they were somewhat disappointed with the outcome because they were "looking for somebody to be prosecuted".

family pushing for probe

Roxan Henry, SSP Henry's brother and the family spokesman, made it clear that they will continue their push to have the police conduct a more detailed probe and are contemplating hiring an attorney to ensure that this happens.

"He did not poison himself ... he did not commit suicide. Someone poisoned him," Roxan Henry insisted.

Some jurors spoke with the family afterwards, telling them that the post-mortem report and the forensic analysis presented as evidence helped to solidify their findings, but said in the end there was not enough information to point to anyone in particular.

"The post-mortem showed that there was

something in his system and that he was systematically poisoned. He could have been taking it accidentally or someone could have given it to him, but we couldn't tell which one it is," one juror explained.

"But according to what was in front of us, he was poisoned, and that's why we returned the open verdict so the police can do some follow-up investigations," he continued.

Added the juror: "We did the best we could with what we had."

Family members later told reporters they understood the decision of the jury, but raised questions about the quality and the thoroughness of the police probe into Henry's death.

"It's not a satisfactory investigation going on into my brother's death. It's a poor investigation. More people need to be investigated," Roxan Henry asserted during an interview with The Gleaner.

He charged that police investigators confined their probe to his brother's girlfriends and not his close friends, including some in the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

SSP Henry died at the Kingston Public Hospital in May 2012 from health complications. His death came days before he was set to take up his promotion to the rank of assistant commissioner.

Friends and family say he suddenly became ill and was in and out of hospital in the days before his death.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com