McLean's narrow escape

A police investigator yesterday recounted how cops had to swiftly devise a diversion scheme to save Michael McLean, the St Thomas man accused of killing two women and four children, after angry residents demanded his release so they could administer their own justice.

Detective Inspector Carlton James was giving evidence during McLean's murder trial about the events that unfolded on February 27, 2006 after the accused killer was taken into custody at the Morant Bay Police Station in St Thomas.

McLean is on trial for killing his former girlfriend, Terry-Ann Mohammed; her son, Jessie O'Gilvie; as well as Patrice Martin-McCool and her children, Lloyd McCool, Jihad McCool and Sean Chin. Five of the bodies were found on February 26, 2006 along the Prospect Beach with the throats slashed, James testified yesterday.

The decomposing body of Jihad McCool was found a week later in a shallow grave in St Mary.

Superintendent Charmaine Shand, then a sergeant stationed in St Thomas, testified that a day after the bodies were found, she got a call from McLean. Shand, who admitted that she and the accused are childhood friends, said she immediately asked where he was because she thought he was dead.

"I asked him if he heard what had happened [to his girlfriend] and he said yes," she testified.

Shand said McLean asked her to take him to the police and testified that she and a team of police personnel drove to Harbour View in St Andrew where they found him in a car parked on the side of the road.

The crowd wanted jungle justice!

Detective Inspector Carlton James testified that after Michael McLean was transported to the Morant Bay Police Station, he was in the process of taking a victim statement from him when an angry mob converged outside.

"We recorded a victim statement because he gave a statement not implicating himself, but implicating others," the detective explained.

He said persons in the crowd demanded that the accused killer be released to them to dispense their own justice.

"How did Mr McLean appear at the time?" asked lead prosecutor Paula Llewellyn.

"Very nervous, trembling," the investigator replied.

That's when James said the police came up with a diversion plan to escort McLean to safety. "We lined up three police cars, placed him in the middle one then drove them out the station in different directions," he recounted.

McLean was transported to Kingston where he completed his statement.

The trial continues today.


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