Thu | Dec 3, 2020

Slain retired cop was child predator, say daughters

Published:Thursday | October 29, 2020 | 12:18 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Retired district constable, Leonard Bennett, who was murdered on Monday and his body left in bushes in Dallas Castle.
Retired district constable, Leonard Bennett, who was murdered on Monday and his body left in bushes in Dallas Castle.

The family of a retired district constable who was brutally murdered on Monday afternoon has painted him as a serial child predator who had absconded bail after being charged with assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

At about 2:30 p.m. on Monday, residents of Dallas Castle in St Andrew reported hearing gunshots and called the police. Following a search, 82-year-old Leonard Bennett was found lying in bushes with what appeared to be gunshot wounds to his face and neck. He was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

While a number of residents recalled Bennett being a good man, his daughters, Julie and Lorn Bennett, said that while they regretted the brutal end their father met, he was the cause of much disgrace to the family.

They alleged that he was a serial child molester who was on the run from the law up until the time of his death.

Residents also claimed that Bennett lured underage girls to his home with ice cream and other treats.

The daughters told The Gleaner that about five years ago, the brother of a 12-year-old girl caught Bennett and his sister in a compromising position and raised an alarm.

He was arrested and held in custody for roughly a year before posting bail. He then absconded, with his daughters believing that he had fled to Portland to evade the police.

RESURFACED

It wasn’t until about January this year that he popped up again in Dallas Castle, spending no more than three days at a time to gauge the residents’ opinion of him.

Last Friday, he turned up at the home, claiming that he would be moving back in for good. Three days later, he was dead.

“He would have been 83 next week – November 5,” Julie told The Gleaner. “Him never tek care of him pickney dem. Him love young girl. ... A one likkle pervert man.”

Despite his deeds, she said she still loved him as he was her dad.

Julie said the family was dealt a double blow of death as their mother had only passed away last Friday.

Lorn said that their father’s penchant for young girls caused a strain in the relationship he had with his daughters.

“Mi ask him bout it and him seh a lie more than twice, but when you pass, di girl inna di yard,” she said. “When the likkle girl and her brother go to the house, he would send him a shop and tell him what time to come back, but the boy used to come back and see him a trouble di girl. ... We were ashamed.”

The young girl in question was sent into state care and recently went back home to visit her grandmother.

The Gleaner was allowed to speak to the 17-year-old in the presence of her grandmother.

The now teenager said that Bennett had used money to lure her into abuse and that as the encounters continued, she remained silent out of fear that she would not be believed.

She now has a son with a young man she met while attending school.

The grandmother, who said that she was friends with Bennett, expressed remorse at his killing and was happy that his daughters had condemned his actions.

“Although things maybe go wrong, I am still feeling the pain for him still,” she said.