Thu | Aug 22, 2019

Shattered lives - Painful survival for families of murder victims

Published:Thursday | January 12, 2017 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston
Robinson ... I am on two tablets at the moment – one for stress, one for pressure. Every time mi think about it, mi head hurt mi.
Josephs ... “It’s hard, really, really hard. There are times I just break down and cry.
Michelle Williams, principal of the Watsonton Primary School in Clarendon, discusses with Jerome Yarrau, chairman of the board, and Claudia Dick, board member, the day’s news from The Gleaner.

They are from three different sections of the community of Effortville/Farm in Clarendon, but their stories are eerily similar. They have lost loved ones to the crime monster stalking the parish, and carrying on is proving to be a difficult and painful task.

Claudia Josephs lost her children's father to gunmen's bullets in 2009 and talking about it seven years later still leaves her in tears. With wet cheeks, yesterday, Josephs told our news team about how her husband was gunned down at her gate in front of her two children and her.

The tears flowed freely as she spoke about the man who used to assist her with their six children. Now it's a burden she has to shoulder all on her own - and she is not coping.

"It's hard, really, really hard. There are times I just break down and cry," said Josephs.

Her children, too, are finding it hard to live normal lives without their father, and at one point, she had to go to the school of one of her sons who is struggling to deal with anger-management issues.

"He doesn't like anyone talking about his father. He gets angry," said Josephs, who continues to live in the house that she shared with her husband, but who is no longer fearful, having given her life to God.

One of her biggest challenges now is meeting the daily needs of her family.

With unsteady employment and running a cook shop, she bought a piece of land but is seeking help to erect a structure for the children so that they can have their own space.

Metres away from Josephs is Emily Robinson, who lost her 21-year-old son, Romain Bent, on July 29, 2015.

His bullet-riddled body was found in bushes close to her home.

"I couldn't even look at him. I didn't have the strength to look at him there," said Robinson as she struggled to keep her emotions in check.

Still struggling to cope with the killing of her son, Robinson has been diagnosed with hypertension.

"I am on two tablets at the moment - one for stress, one for pressure. Every time mi think about it, mi head hurt mi. Sometime mi jus sidung and cry," said Robinson.

She added that when she goes to bed at night, sleep often eludes her and there are times she thinks about giving up, but her daughter, who recently started attending Clarendon College, and her two other children keep her going.




"I miss their father, and sending them to school is a challenge," said Robinson as she expressed gratitude for the support given to her by the James and Friends Education programme. Her children's father died a couple of years earlier.

Robinson's neighbours, nine-year-old twins Alecia and Alesha Nelson, had their father ripped from their lives last September when he was murdered on his veranda while sitting with them.

Winsome Williams, who is now very involved in the lives of the fatherless girls, said that they are struggling as they were very close to their father.

"He was a very good father, not just to his children, but to everyone. He used to comb their hair, walk them to school. He took care of them," said Williams.

"They are now in counselling, but it's still hard. We had to transfer them from their former school in Effortville to Mineral Heights Primary. It's just too many memories," added Williams.