Mother of five killed en route to daughters’ netball game
Relatives heartbroken after gunmen kill peacemaker, cab driver
Marlene Smith left work early last Wednesday after promising her daughters, who attend a high school in St Catherine, that she would be at their netball game to cheer them on. The girls were conscious that Smith was not among the parents and...
Marlene Smith left work early last Wednesday after promising her daughters, who attend a high school in St Catherine, that she would be at their netball game to cheer them on.
The girls were conscious that Smith was not among the parents and supporters who had turned up to watch the game. Despite this, they played the game, not knowing that their most loyal cheerleader would not attend another of their matches again.
It was late afternoon when they learned that their mother was killed in a taxi that she had boarded in Spanish Town with the intention of fulfilling her promise.
Smith and three men boarded the cab at the Old Harbour taxi stand in the St Catherine capital and it set out for the ill-fated journey.
On reaching the middle of Railway Lane, two of the men sitting in the back requested a stop.
When they alighted from the vehicle, one pulled a firearm, aimed it at the driver, and opened fire.
Smith, who was sitting on the front passenger seat, was shot multiple times in the upper body and abdomen. She was later pronounced dead at the Spanish Town Hospital.
The driver of the taxi, 31-year-old Orlando McGregor, whom, it is believed, was the target of the attack, was also killed.
Too distraught to speak when The Gleaner visited the family home on Saturday, Smith’s teary-eyed daughters were being consoled by their father, Clive Taylor, who, while battling his grief, managed to compose himself to articulate the impact of the murder on the family.
“If she had died from an accident, we would feel it, but it would have a different effect than what it has now to know that Marlene was murdered innocently,” Taylor said of his partner, with whom he shared five children – four daughters and a son.
“This is a big loss to us and the world. Our family members and friends overseas who know her are all in shock. The community is shaken up by this tragedy. Everyone in the community right now mourns her passing,” he added. “It is just sad. Sad, sad. No one expected this. No one will know the feeling unless it comes to their doorstep.”
Taylor said that Smith was well liked by all and a great mother to her children, who love her dearly and will find it difficult to cope with her permanent absence from the home.
He said that her cheerfulness, which was on display every day, was highlighted in the last moments he had with her on Tuesday, when she told him that she wanted a cheesecake for her birthday in September.
“I said to her, ‘Your birthday is in September. How come you want to order cheesecake from now?’, and she smiled and said, ‘Mi want to put it in your brain from now’.”
Taylor added that she had even ordered the dress she planned to wear on her birthday. A relative living overseas, who has already purchased the dress, was making plans to send it ahead of time.
On Saturday, Ennette Smith was also mourning the loss of her sister.
“It is really bad, the killing going on in Jamaica. Dem kill mi sister. Innocent woman. You can call her for everything. Anything you want help with, she would be there to help,” she told The Gleaner.
“God know, it hurt. She is my best sister. She is the peacemaker in the family among the four sisters. Who is going to do this now? Mi sister gone and won’t come back,” Ennette said.
She described Marlene Smith as a very good cook and a soloist who would sing at funerals in the community.
“Her name always appeared on funeral programmes of community members who died. She was even scheduled to sing at an upcoming funeral service for a member of the community who had passed,” the sister said.
She further disclosed that the tragic shooting had landed a heavy blow to the family and some relatives had to seek medical attention after collapsing when they got the dreadful news.