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Slaughtered pensioner was 'a star in the church family'

Published:Friday | December 16, 2016 | 12:00 AMadrian frater and Leon Jackson

Western Bureau:

Shock and grief gripped the town of Falmouth, Trelawny, yesterday as residents reacted to the horrifying news that a man of unsound mind had slaughtered a much-loved pensioner just outside the town's post office, where she had gone to collect her pension.

The dead woman, identified as 71-year-old Joyce Gomez, was described by her pastor, the Reverend Junior Rutty, as a devoted God-fearing Christian, who was compassionate, kind, and devoted to her church.

"She was a star in the church family. She loved her church and she loved her pastor," said Rutty. "Bad weather could not prevent her from coming to church. Even when it rained heavily, she was always in church."

According to reports, at approximately 7:45 a.m., Gomez, who was waiting for the post office to open at eight o'clock, was attacked by the man of unsound mind, who was identified only as 'Ryan'. He reportedly chopped and stabbed her multiple times before she collapsed on the pavement, where she died.

"He had earlier tried to attack a student, but he was chased away by a loader man (man who loads a bus), who saw what was happening," an eyewitness told The Gleaner. "He was quite agitated when he walked away in the direction of the post office, where he attacked Ms Gomez."




Gomez' daughter, Pamela Perry, was beyond grief when The Gleaner spoke to her about her mother, who neighbours described as one who was totally devoted to her family.

"Mama was the most dependable person. She was our babysitter; she was the babysitter to all of us - from children to grandchildren and great-grandchildren," said Perry as she struggled to come to grips with her mother's tragic death. "Mama was never one to get into quarrels, and those things. She was a woman of peace. For her, all things were good."

Perry believes that one of her mother's many endearing qualities, the desire to always be early, might have contributed to her death.

"If she was not the early type, she probably would not have been out there so early waiting on the post office to be opened," said Perry as she tearfully recalled how her mother would always be singing one of her favourite hymns as she walked to the post office.

While it was Ryan who committed the grievous act, some residents believe that the police and the health authorities should share some of the blame.

"Everybody knows that Ryan is prone to violence, but yet he was left to roam the streets of Falmouth freely, and look what has happened. An upstanding citizen of the town is now dead," A resident told The Gleaner. "Between the police and the public-health department should have moved him off the street long ago."

Shortly after Gomez was killed, Ryan was handcuffed and taken away by the police. At press time, he was still in the custody of the police at the Falmouth Police Station.