Tue | Jul 23, 2024

Westmoreland couple killed; house set ablaze with bodies inside

Published:Thursday | June 20, 2024 | 12:48 AMAdrian Frater/Gleaner Writer
The burnt remains of the Halls’ home in Jamba Hill, in Whithorn, Westmoreland.
The burnt remains of the Halls’ home in Jamba Hill, in Whithorn, Westmoreland.
A van from a funeral home awaiting the remains of Marlene Daley Hall and Kirk Hall in a track in proximity to their burnt out home.
A van from a funeral home awaiting the remains of Marlene Daley Hall and Kirk Hall in a track in proximity to their burnt out home.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

Another cruel chapter was written in the ongoing lawlessness plaguing western Jamaica yesterday morning when a man and his wife were shot dead in Jamba Hill in Whithorn, Westmoreland, and their house set ablaze with their bodies inside.

“I never know that people coulda suh wicked,” said a fearful resident, who asked not to be identified by name nor gender. “When me smell the flesh a burn and realise seh a human being like me inna de burnout building, me feel fi vomit.”

The deceased couple, identified as 56-year-old Marlene Daley-Hall and her husband Kirk Hall, whose age could not be ascertained, were both higglers.

According to reports, at about 5:30 a.m., the peace of the quiet community was disturbed by multiple explosions, believed to be gunshots. Shortly after, the board house where the couple resided was seen on fire.

Residents alerted the police, and on arrival of the police, they converged on the location. To their absolute shock, they said they saw Mr Hall lying on his back with the skin on his legs all but burnt off. His upper body was somewhat intact, as the bloodstains on what was left of his shirt were quite visible.

His wife’s body, which was more badly burnt, was a short distance away.

“Based on what we saw on close inspection, both were shot, as bullet wounds were observed on sections of their upper bodies,” a police personnel, who was not authorised to speak but did so in the absence of a senior officer, told The Gleaner.

“As to the cause of their deaths, the autopsy will determine that,” the police related.

The Westmoreland police division, which recently had a change of leadership with the transfer of former commander, Senior Superintendent Wayne Joseph, and operations officer, Superintendent Adrian Hamilton, is the only western parish whose murder count between January 1 and May 26 is higher than the comparative period last year.

The Halls are not the only couple to have fallen prey to gunmen in recent weeks. Just under two weeks ago, another husband and wife were shot and injured when gunmen forced their way into their Negril home and opened gunfire at them.

Last week was a bloody one for the west with the parish of Hanover alone accounting for five murders between midday Thursday and early Friday morning. Those killed include a father and son from the Johnson Town community.

Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang, who visited the scene of what was a triple murder in Johnson Town, told The Gleaner that the region’s lawlessness was not out of control but would take some time to be contained.

“The situation is not out of control, and we are not out of ideas. The situation was allowed to spread and develop to a point where it will take some time to get it under control,” Dr Chang said.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com