Police silent on suspect

| 24/04/2009

(CNS):  It is now more than a week since the 38-year-old inmate arrested for the murder of Sabrina Schirn appeared in court and was returned to Northward without being charged, and no update regarding the investigation has been offered by the police. However, police have said that the man who is serving a seven year sentence for an unrelated offence, who was believed to be working on the prison farm in East End around the same time of the 21-year old Sabrina’s murder, remains a suspect.

Following his court appearance last week, police said that the case was now with legal services and forensic evidence was still being reviewed. Since his return to Northward, CNS has attempted to discover if the inmate has been returned to the normal prison population and the usual routine of a prisoner of his category which is believed to be ‘D’.

Dr William Rattray, the Commissioner of Corrections, said he could not comment on individual prisoners but on a general note he said any prisoner who is suspected of a criminal offence would be re-graded to either Category A or B pending the completion of police investigations. “If a prisoner is charged with an offence they would remain at least Category B.”

He also confirmed that all external work programmes have been suspended, including community service, the farm, and work release. “We still have Category C and D prisoners working outside the perimeter fence but within the overall prison boundaries,” he added.

Sabrina’s decomposed body was found by her friends and family in a remote area of East End near the rock quarry on 17 March, two days after the car she was driving was found less than a mile away. While the details of the autopsy have not been revealed, police have indicated that Sabrina was killed with a machete. The prison confirmed the 38-year-old inmate, who was at the time considered a low risk offender who worked on the prison farm that was adjacent to the area where the body was found, had been arrested on 5 April. Police held the man for the 12 days allowed under the law before charges must be brought. In the absence of any charges he was returned to Northward Prison last week.

No further arrests have been made in connection with the killing, despite the mounting speculation that at least one other individual could have been involve in the murder or its attempted cover up.

While the community has been vociferous in its concern regarding this investigation, current elected officials and most of the candidates have remained silent on the issue. However, Sandra Catron and Burns Conolly, independent candidates for Bodden Town and George Town, have both called for the immediate removal of the Director of Prisons and those others involved in the administration of the Prison Service. Conolly has asked for the governor to look into a full review of the situation surrounding the policies and procedures of the Northward Prison Farm Work Programme and called for the immediate removal of those in charge to allow a free and independent investigation into the matter.

"If they are found to be innocent of any wrong-doing then they should be returned. However, if they were found to be in complicity with the lack of security and procedures then they should be removed from their positions permanently.  We have other investigations ongoing for far less significant issues than this unfortunate loss of life,” he said.

Conolly added that he was astounded that government and few candidates had come out publicly on this issue. “I want to move this issue to the importance it should have. Many in the community have called for this but few in the political arena have chosen to speak out. I am surprised that we are still talking about the removal of the prison director now some two to three weeks after it became known that a prisoner had been arrested in connection with this unfortunate crime. The director should have stepped down or been removed immediately to facilitate a proper and transparent investigation.”

Catron also called for an investigation recently and the suspension of prison staff, saying she found it absolutely shocking and abhorrent that someone who is incarcerated because he has already broken society’s laws should be afforded the opportunity to re-offend while in prison. “This is by far one of the most unreal situations I have ever heard of. How can any of us feel safe knowing that even after incarcerations we are still not safe from criminals,” she said.

Recent reports that a prison officer had been suspended in connection with the incident have been denied by prison authorities as only rumour. However, the same authorities also dismissed questions submitted by CNS regarding the potential of an inmate being involved in Sabrina’s murder as “speculative gossip" several days before the admission that an inmate may have been involved.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Headline News

About the Author ()

Comments (21)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Regardless of what problems exist within the RCIP and the government for that matter it is of utmost importance that this murder is solved and those responsible are brought to justice.

    The fear and concern of the public is at an all time high and following the horrific murder of Estella and then followed by  the Sabrina killing which has traumatized many within the country.

    What is needed are some answers and shame on ANYONE who knows something about these crimes and has failed to come forward.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Shaun Ebanks….as usuall erudite and factually uncompromised. Speaks to starry eyed politicos disabled at a point where it could have mattered most :budget review time.

    While the responsibility for the police is the governors remit, the peoples representatives in charge of our purse strings, did liitle in way of oversight and speak out until the fires blew close to their Grass House after they unleased the genie from the bottle to gobble up the indomitable Bush. The fire went out of control and they payed more attention to redirecting the fire engines to out the Chukkie blaze, when the real fire was getting away at Kernahanville. Then the smell of money burning….our money, along with credibility.

    Shaun …true patriot

  3. Shaun Ebanks says:

    To Anoymous 04/26/09 14:33

    I agree with your post 100% as to David Thursfield. I can’t forget working alongside him with other officers and being shown how to effectively handle/deal with one of the most "volatile situations" we ever experienced, in the 1999 aftermath of Northward Riots. Hurricane Ivan was next in 2004 for whom Derek Haines deserves the credit for managing and guiding the RCIPS at the helm, in the hours following the severe impact of the storm.

    Let’s not forget Commissioner Anthony Grey as well, a finer Commissioner and gentlemen you couldn’t find, who came to our shores from the UK and introduced Modern Community Policing.

    These gentlemen were of impeccable character whom respected us, worked with us, ate/drank with us and contributed much to our community without the "chip" on their shoulder, believing that they were the superior beings to us native Caymanians and Caribbean expat officers alike. Some of them with the "chips" remind me so much of those characters in the "Pocohontas" movie, that I watched with my daughter when she was much younger.

    So sad for some (not all) of our local and well educated police officers whom call themselves police administrators/managers today, whom allowed the curtain to be pulled over their faces and eyes, being naive / gullable as to what was taking place. So much for "lapping up" the spoils you educated – – – – – !!!!!!

    I hope you’ve learn your lesson well but it’s a bit too late to make what we call here in the great district of West Bay, "fee faw" in the isles of the hardware store, supermarket, banks and other public places.

    Enjoy the balance of your days in the RCIPS and get your "turbans and berkas" ready as the "Mad Mulla" is likely on his way.

    "Oh Blo- – –  Hell" …………………….. here we go again Cayman !!!!!!!!!!


    Shaun Ebanks.

  4. Shaun Ebanks says:

    To Anonymous at 04/26/09 – 06:00

    I agree with you that there were "numerous issues" into the RCIPS prior to the past and present Administration, to include "Severe Budgetary Constraints" which you fail to mention that contributed to much of these issues back then.

    I clearly remember myself and others having to use broken down furniture which we would salvage from the basement of the Tower Building. Not to mention, the "hand me down" furniture from other Governments Departments whom advertised it’s collection on the intranet, who seemed to have received funding butnot the RCIPS.

    I clearly remember our locally owned "stinky mildew" police cars that we had to patrol the streets of the Cayman Islands in. Thankfully though, our then local Commissioner went to the (FDLE) Florida Department Law Enforcement whom graciously gave us some second hand police vehicles to use. 

    What a difference after the "pale face’s and blue eyes" arrived. No more "half a police car" per station but thereafter and today, we now have 7-8 brand new police police cars (marked/unmarked) parked outside the station’s whom sit’s idle (not during shift changes) for hours on end.

    As for government issued "Blackberry’s" to be more efficient/effective in our job, we had to cut our Training budget in half just to keeps our heads above water, much less the luxury of Blackberry’s. I should know, I was the Training Commander at that time. Our police vessel (Cayman Protector) basically took up residence most weeks at Harbour House Marina, continously getting it’s ribs welded so as not to compromise it’s sea worthiness.

    Despite the lack of funding which caused many deficiences we experienced, our record for clearing up "Serious Crime" way surpassed what is happening thereafter and now. A least under the leadership of Derek Haines we broke up the two biggest "Crime Gangs" that were causing all the havoc in Grand Cayman prior to and after Hurricane Ivan.

    Can anyone in the RCIPS explain to me why the West Bay CNB Bank Robbery was mishandled so terribly despite the police having well in advance knowledge of who the criminals were and the time the crime was to take place ????  Why do you think the police were on the scene so early after the crime, in battle gear ??? It’s a policeman’s dream to know the particulars of any crime that is about to unfold but it was a "classical blunder" in the way it was allowed to unfold.

    There is no way and justifiably so, under Derek Haines leadership would those gunmen have left that CNB Branch alive branshing an M16 after shooting the poor Filipino guard and the master minds aquitted of this henious crime. There are others, but that’s for another time, not today.

    The public demands service, protection and acountability. This is the same as an investment comany who seeks to earn dividends/profit on their investment and not expect excuses from a lack of incompetence and misdirection of management.

    Since ignorance of the law is no excuse, then ignorance of the facts are neither. 


    Shaun Ebanks.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Commmish Thursfield=respect for this community, respect for Caymanian officers, respect for our budgetary limitations, respect for our laws.

    Respect for Cayman.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    Are the RCIP actually recruiting locally? Where was the advertisement? I haven’t seen a thing on this…..

  7. Anonymous says:
    Further to my last post, it is interesting to see the RCIP recruiting locally again. It will take two years of time training and on the road before the officers are fully competent, and it would be interesting to see how many are left working in the service in two years. Its great to recruit, however the departments retention issues need to be addressed first, or else we will just keep recruiting, and people will keep leaving, and we never actually make any progress.
  8. Anonymous says:
    I think you are deluding yourself. It would not make much difference if these people (including you) returned to the service, as the RCIP was a complete mess well before Mr. Kernohan arrived. Things may not have been as bad as they are now (as a result of SPIT, not Mr. Kernohans’s actions), but there was the same incompetence, laziness, retention issues, and professional issues prior to Mr. Kernohan arriving. The loss of these people you describe is unhelpful to the service, but these people were working in the service before Mr. Kernohan arrived, and during this time the RCIP was a mess. The only difference is that back then we did not have this website, and the Cayman Net News. All we had was the Compass, who followed the government party line, so the public never got to hear about the day to day disasters of the RCIP, or much of the serious crime that was taking place at the time (they do say ignorance is bliss).
  9. Gilly says:

    What can they say if anyone heard what Mr XXXXXXXXXX had to say they would understand that This investigation and its leadership are a terrible joke and the mere fact they had prior knowledge of past criminal activity is unbelieveable. How much Do you want to bet they assign the same investigators to follow up Mr XXXXX’s comments so they can suppress that negative reprocussions of his comments . You know If we do not get rid of the corrupt element that are still in the RCIPS these type of scenarios are going to continue and more innocent people are going to fall victim to these crimes. How many more murders are going to take place before we do something.

    CNS: I’m not sure that the gentleman in question would want his name published in this context.

  10. Anonymous says:

    There is a saying that empty barrels (drums) makes the most noise. In this case,  i would suggest that the RCIPS aren’t just being silent without reason. perhaps this is their way in saying, "this case is just about solved". perhaps they are waiting for that final piece of evidence to solve the puzzle. who knows really but the investigators. the police cannot always disclose to the general populace, the progress of their investigations for it may prejudice a case later in court. one could draw inferences from why they have stopped making appeals to the general public. is this because they are confident they have their "man" and are now just putting the icing on the cake. GOOD strategy in my books.

    i trust their next media conference will be to tell the public that this individual is charged and that the real work begins to actually prove this in court.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is a horrible situation and hopefully anyone with information to assist in the capture and conviction of the person or persons involved will pass that information on.

    If you are afraid write an anonymous letter with the information and mail it to the RCIP.

  12. Shaun Ebanks says:

    The RCIPS desperately requires it’s former police investigators/managers whom resigned as a result of the past and present administration shortcomings, to return and excute it’s lawful duty without the muzzling and misdirection it previously received. In doing this, positive results will follow and restoration of public confidence into the organization will be regained.

    Sadly to say though, it will take much to get these former investigators/managers to"even consider returning" in light of all that has happened and is still happening at Police Administration. Not to mention, the vast sum of funds that were spent with little or no positive results to present back to the Government and the people. Tell me, which new Government (PPM, UDP or INDEPENDENT) will again open " large funding" as they did before, bearing in mind, the worldwide economic recession as well ???? 

    Questions that needs answering ;

    What happened to the "two former" Finance and Administrative Managers ??

    Why have the new Business Manager declined to renew her contract ??

    What happened to the "two former" Human Resource Managers ??

    What happened to approximately 120 experienced police officers of different ranks who called it quits in the last 5 years ??  

    Why are Senior Caymanian Officers seeking to retreat through the back door to seek other employment within government and the private sector ?? 

    Why is it that the present Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations whom has approximately 28 years of local police service, repeatedly refuse to apply or accept the post as Commissioner ??

    Why did the interviewing panel "refuse or cause" Derek Haines application not to be short listed, for the vacant Commissioner post ??

    Is it correct to say that the present Act- Commissioner of Police have just this week withdrawn his application for the Commissioner’s post and the " Mad Mulla" is likely on his way ??

    If you "John Public" were former RCIPS investigators/managers with much credit under your belts, what incentives are there for you to consider returning ????

    Literally nothing, wouldn’t you agree ???? 

    Remember, crimes are not solved by themselves but by competent and committed investigators whom have good local knowledge, good interpersonal skills and capabilities involving intelligence gathering and analysis.

    Weak circumstantial evidence dosen’t stand "the test" but primary evidence acquired through forensic analysis and others skillful and legal means will. 

    Highly "pulicized arrests" but no formal charges being filed dosen’t solve crimes, but securing a conviction in a court of law does.

    "Pussy Footing and Lip Service" to the press dosen’t solve crimes neither.

    Need I say more !!!!!!!!!!


    Shaun Ebanks.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Silence is but better than the humiliating utterances of denial and iresponsibility by a defunct Prison Director and not smart members of the RCIP.

    But we must know …and not long from now. We have not forgotton. We will not forget. This will not go away. Geditt!! 

    We also will not allow the funding and continuation of mediocrity.The Prison Director must prepare for departure. Our choice of Commisoner should exclude the current actor and many on that short list. We canoot any longer suffer foolishness…and pay for it.

    Enough already!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You can bet that the prison director and the deputy is hoping that this will go away.    Have not seen them on the golf course lately.  Guess the suddenly decided to spend  more time at the prison now that its publicly unravelling in the front of their very eyes.

      They seem to credit Caymanians with having short memories – but this time will be different. 

      Hope Franz Manderson takes an indept look at the prison and its slackness, its blatant policy of  hiring non-caymanians, its dislike of caymanian officers, its  practice of promoting incompetent friends and then expecting those whom they have overlooked to help the incompetents do their jobs; the fact that the prisoners get to do pretty much whatever they want to do just so the peace can be kept.  Its time to do a sweep of the prison, from Ratty ,  right down to the director and his friend the deputy

      • Anonymous says:

        I am calling on all candidates to address the prison issue before it is too late.  An investigation need to be started immediately and those at the top need to be suspended so that they do not intefere by intimidating officers and prisoners alike.

        In view of such a money shortage in government, how is it that certain officers, who are close personal friends of the director and the deputy are able to attend UCCI to study courses that  do not  even pertain to their jobs of prison officers. Any institution who pays for adult education first ensures that it will benefit the organization and not just the individual.  How does courses in accounting and business management help a prison officer do his job?  These are just a few of the things that will come out during an investigation , and confirm that the prison is run by  a group of friend , friend, egotistically bullies who use threats of promotions or lack thereof to control line officers. 

        Trust me Cayman, there are many  good officers who are looking forward to such an occassion, and then there are those who are quaking in their boots and having nightmares about that day.   For that reason alone I would give Sandra Catron a vote since I know her to be a woman who is not afraid of controversial matters and I can easily see her lobbying to have an internal investigation commenced almost as soon as she is in the house. 

      • Anonymous says:

        With the prison farm now shut down and prisoners no longer able to get  out and find their daily supply of drugs, you can bet that prison staff are having a more difficult time of doing their jobs.  The prisoners have no respect for the Director and his Deputy who would be doing the prison and the Cayman Islands a favor if they were to gracefully step down  at this time before they are forced out .  A vote of no confidence against these two should be made in the Legislative Assembly as soon as it resumes.  We need captains who have the respect of their staff and these two do not. They are fooling themselves if they beleive that the officers whom the treat with such disdain  have any regard for them.  The officers do their jobs and go home; they do not want to associate with them outside of the prison; that is, except their close friends whom they have promoted to positions of imcompetence and that is over officers who are capable but just not liked by these two.  

        But there is a time and place for everything and now is their time to face the bright spotlight of suspicion. Hope they have some mighty dark glasses to hide behind.

        • Anonymous says:

          CNS: Are there any updates on this story?  Perhaps you could check.

        • Anonymous says:

          Wonder for how much longer the police will be silent on this issue?  It’s time we at least hear some sort of statement about this matter. How much longer must we wait? We can’t forget the horrible death of  this young lady.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I think the police need to clear up whether the kille ris still on the streets, or locked down in prison, or whether he has escaped back to Jamaica yet

    • THERESA says:

      you are being discriminative at the moment.. don’t always blame Jamaican’s for everything. You need to check the last count they had in Northward 95% is CAYMANIAN, 5% Different Nationality. Come on no wonder why this country is being divided….. u people r too DISGUSTING. 

  15. paul ebanks says:

     The police should be aware that the public have a right to know.