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Umbrella gangsters denied bail

Published:Monday | February 11, 2013 | 12:00 AM

DAMNING allegations of witness intimidation recently resulted in four high-ranking members of Portmore's Umbrella gang being denied bail when they appeared before Supreme Court judge Bryan Sykes on January 30, amid allegations of attacking a policeman in the holding area two days earlier.

They were among five gang members previously offered bail for the 2010 murder of former Waterford High School goalkeeper O'keeffe Lewis and his stepfather, Leonard Hamilton, in Newlands, St Catherine.

However, two weeks after being bailed on the double murder, the four men allegedly shot up a rival community where a witness resided.

The court was told by investigating officer Jason McKay that a report was made to the police and the quartet was pointed out during identification parades at the Portmore Police Station.

After hearing the allegations, Sykes' denied the men bail on charges of shooting with intent and illegal possession of firearm.

This was the second major blow against Umbrella gangsters operating in the Newlands and Naggo Head area of Portmore, St Catherine, after two members' 2012 conviction for shooting and gun offences involving the St Catherine South Fugitive Apprehension Team.

Coinciding with a crackdown on the gang, the St Catherine South Police Division recently reported a remarkable decrease in murders for 2012, the second straight year that homicide figures plunged in the populous and expansive area that includes Portmore.

Murders in St Catherine South fell to 99 in 2012, dipping from 125 in 2011. In 2010, the homicide figures stood at a staggering 148.

Umbrella gang members have been killed in clashes with the police. Members have developed a reputation as being ruthless, committing murders against elderly persons and children in a near seven-year reign of terror.