Tue | Aug 11, 2020

Freed gang member to face questions on quadruple murder

Published:Friday | July 10, 2020 | 12:23 AMDanae Hyman/Staff Reporter

Less than 24 hours after he was found not guilty and excitedly shared his plans of rebuilding his farm, Copeland Sankey, one of the six alleged members of the King Valley Gang who were acquitted on Wednesday, is to face questions in relation to a quadruple murder in Westmoreland.

Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Crime Fitz Bailey said Sankey allegedly committed the murders before being incarcerated in 2018.

“These guys are responsible for at least 18 murders, the gang itself. The remaining five of them have been charged, and they are still in custody, and the sixth one is to be interviewed in relation to a quadruple murder by the Area One MID (Major Investigation Division),” Bailey shared.

During the trial, the men were accused of terrorising the citizens of Grange Hill and its environs in Westmoreland, carrying out contract killings, rapes, and a string of bike robberies, leaving unsuspecting victims in fear. However, the men were found not guilty after Chief Justice Bryan Sykes ruled that the prosecutors did not provide enough evidence to convict them.

Although they were all found not guilty of breaching the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, only Sankey was allowed to walk free as there were additional charges pending against the others.

Sykes explained that his main reason for acquitting the men was the lack of supporting evidence from the Crown although there were modern technologies that could have assisted with providing the relevant evidence.

However, Bailey said the team of investigators that investigated the gang did their best despite external deterrence, including threats from members of the King Valley Gang.

“I have to respect the verdict by the chief justice, I am not a lawyer, I am not a judge, but I believe from the perspective of the JCF, we believe that we have done a good investigation,” the deputy commissioner said.

In the meantime, the deputy commissioner also disclosed that the main witness in the King Valley Gang trial, a former proclaimed member of the gang, will not have any charges laid against him despite his confession of numerous criminal activities.

“The circumstances under which those confessions were made would not be tantamount to us bringing a matter before the court. In my view, he was a witness in a case, and he came clean. He never gave the information under caution,” Bailey said.

He pointed out that two days before the first hearing of the gang matter, four members of the witness’ family were murdered, two-execution style. He, however, declined to comment on whether the witness will be placed in protection of the State.