Lauriston terror! - Residents fear for lives as three beheaded days apart
Anastasia Cunningham, Senior Gleaner Writer
The relatively quiet community of Lauriston in Spanish Town, St Catherine, has been plunged into despair following gruesome acts two days apart. The residents are so fearful they refuse to speak. No one wants to be the next victim. No one wants to lose their head. Tears were their only language - and several let them flow freely.
"Me can't even speak. Mi foot dem just a tremble," was all one woman said before walking away.
Many were contemplating their next move, while some were already abandoning the place they had called home for so long.
On Monday, 19-year-old Scott 'Scottie' Thomas, was attacked at his home and beheaded by a group of men armed with guns and machetes.
His death is believed to be related to an internal feud within the notorious Clansman gang.
The community was still reeling from that incident, only to awake Wednesday morning to an even more sickening scene. Two more beheadings, just a few doors away from Scottie.
This time, two of their more upstanding citizens - 40-year-old Charmaine Gloria Rattray and her 19-year-old daughter Joyette Lynch - were attacked at their home and decapitated.
Rattray was known as a devout Christian by neighbours, while her daughter was admired for her focused ambition, having graduated from The Queen's School and moving on to further her studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
According to police, Rattray and her daughter were sleeping when thugs kicked off their door and entered. Lawmen believe the women were killed by the same group of men who beheaded Thomas. However, the motive was not yet clear despite reports that they gave an interview to the media about the predawn killing.
The police are also reporting that they found five spent shells on the scene.
The killings are believed to be linked to the ongoing feud between members of Clansman who have been at loggerheads for more than a year over leadership of the gang.
The severed heads were yet to be located.
Over the past few years, the police are reporting, that beheadings has been the signature of several killings in that general area, in which the perpetrators take the victims' heads with them.
"Right now, no one is safe," one man said. "If the man dem can do dat to two Christians, wha else dem won't do? Dem woman de a nuh idlers, dem nuh deh pon road. A respectable people dem."
Community in shock
Councillor for the division, Keisha Lewis, added: "This is a very sad day for Lauriston. This has plunged the community into shock. These were quiet people and respected as upstanding citizens."
Lewis said the community was not used to this and now persons were anxious and afraid and wanted to leave the area.
Lewis is appealing to the relevant agencies to step in and offer counselling to the traumatised residents.
"We need to strategise to see how we will deal with this," she said.
Pastor Fitzbert Gordon, who has lived in Lauriston for more than 35 years, said this was the worst he has seen it. He said over the years there has been the occasional crime, but nothing like this.
"I usually walk from the bus stop down to my house late at nights and had nothing to worry about," he said.
"We are indeed in the last days. Perilous times are really upon us."
The pastor said it was time for the churches to get actively involved in communities. "The word of God needs to be brought to the communities. That is the solution to the problems, the Word of God," said Gordon.