Here’s What We Know about the end of the Michael McLean show
Michael McLean, a violent and feared figure from St Thomas, was on Thursday slapped with life sentences for the murders of six members of a family in the parish back in 2006.
The businessman was tried and convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Terry-Ann Mohammed; her son, nine-year-old Jesse O’Gilvie; along with Mohammed’s niece, Patrice Martin-McCool; and her children, Jihad McCool, Lloyd McCool and Sean Chin.
The sentences were handed down by Justice Bertram Morrison in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.
In a packed courtroom, a beaten but previously very defiant McLean witnessed the sentencing under strong security amid a reported bid for the criminal underworld to attempt to spring him from captivity.
And how has the sentencing been viewed generally?
With surviving members of the family of the deceased persons in attendance, some even from overseas, as the 12-year-old case came to an end, McLean, 50, heard his fate.
With 20-year periods attached to each of the six sentences as the period before he will become eligible for parole consideration, reflecting the typical scenario based on previous sentencing locally, in which concurrent sentences would have meant that McLean would be looking to head home after 20 years – in fact, eight years - considering the 12 years he has already spent on remand, he was in for a surprise, as Judge Morrison had other ideas.
He swept aside the normal sentencing practice over many years now.
In this case, McLean’s first three life sentences and their accompanying provisions are to run consecutively, adding up to 60 years before he will be eligible to parole consideration, save for his 12 years already done.
From a social enquiry report, a victim impact statement and a psychiatric report in court, the feared image of McLean came to the fore.
The social enquiry report outlined the views of residents of Duhaney Pen and Red Hills Pen in St Thomas, where McLean lived before he was taken into custody. The report outlined how while McLean was viewed as a respectful community member and a hard worker, his aggressive tone when speaking with his spouse betrayed his inner disposition.
The chef by training was described as a dangerous individual who used money to attract a number of women. Therein was said to lie his inherent disposition towards extreme cruelty, as a number of women outlined their traumatic experiences in relationships with McLean.
He was said to have routinely beaten them and dictated their movements daily, with them being sometimes locked in houses or even in barrels with holes for them to breathe through.
Bone-chillingly, the report also indicated statements about an incident when McLean’s car was once damaged by a goat, and, not knowing which goat had done the damage from a group of the animals that was near the vehicle, McLean responded in a most vicious manner.
He reportedly grabbed a number of the goats and proceeded to slash all their throats!
McLean’s extremely controlling tendency was believed to have led to the murders of the six family members, with testimony during the trial pointing to the overall tragedy as having occurred because of a particular dispute with his girlfriend.
During the trial there was testimony that suggested that he believed he had been fed meals which led to him gradually losing his ‘nature’.
Five of the deceased persons were found in St Thomas with their throats slashed, with the body of his girlfriend up to the time of the killings, being also burnt. The other victim, Jihad McCool, was found buried in a shallow grave in neighbouring St Mary.
Prior to the reading of the sentences, McLean, on being asked if he had anything to say, declared himself to be innocent, labelling the trial as having been unfair and tantamount to a kangaroo court.