As Hugh McPherson made his way from a Mahdia night club for his lodging in the area he was fatally stabbed in the back by an attacker, the latest in a series of deadly incidents in the area.
McPherson, left his Lamaha Place, North Ruimveldt, George-town home for the interior location several weeks ago. He was discovered dead at about 7 am at 111 Miles, Airstrip Road, Mahdia. His is the 17th murder to be recorded in the police ‘E’ & ‘F’ Division this year.
The 27-year-old man, police said in a press release on Saturday, was last seen alive at about 10.30 pm on Friday. Investigations were still ongoing up to late yesterday afternoon and police were yet to make an arrest.
McPherson, according to reports reaching this newspaper, had “bad blood” with a relative who was living in Mahdia at the time of the incident and relatives have since expressed a belief that this person may be involved in his death.
The deceased, other reports said, was “a known character” in the area and had been keeping a low profile after he returned to Mahdia.
Christina Vickerie told Stabroek News yesterday, that her fiancé contacted her by telephone as often as he could. McPherson, the woman said, left for the interior location on September 15. She last spoke with the man two Fridays ago.
“When he called me two Fridays ago he told me that he and [a relative] had a misunderstanding but he did not go into details,” the woman said, as she related her conversation with the man two Fridays ago. “Usually when he and this person have a misunderstanding it does be something big…not too long ago [the relative] destroy his [McPherson’s] house and the two of them were at the East La Penitence Police Station for the matter.”
Last Friday, Vickerie said, her fiancé had called for her but she was not at home and had forgotten her cellular phone there. Another relative, the woman reported, who was at home spoke with McPherson that evening but the man did not have anything unusual to say nor did he speak about the misunderstanding again.
When Vickerie returned home she recalled seeing six missed calls from McPherson shortly after 8pm last Friday. The following day (Saturday) the woman said she got the tragic news of her fiance’s death.
Meanwhile, when Stabroek News visited the man’s Lamaha Place residence, which he shared with his siblings, a relative told this newspaper that they believe another relative in the Mahdia area had something to do with McPherson’s death.
In August, they related, the deceased and the relative had a “major misunderstanding” about the Lamaha Place property. At the time, the man said, McPherson lived in a small bond, a yard away from the Lamaha Place family property.
“[The relative] destroy he house and everything he had,” the man told Stabroek News supporting what McPherson’s fiancée, Vickerie, earlier said. “This was not the first time the two had a fight…there are several matters at the police station for them.”
The “bad blood” between McPherson and the relative, the man said, started some time ago. It was a bitter property dispute which also involved other siblings of the dead man.
“[The relative] threaten Hughie [McPherson], me and other relatives as well for this property,” they recalled adding that, “after the story reach to the police and the thing get hot he [the relative] get away to the interior.”
When McPherson left for the location several weeks ago, the man further said, he was warned by relatives not to venture there. They encouraged McPherson to stay away from the relative with whom he had the long standing dispute and to keep his peace.
Despite these allegations Mahdia residents, who spoke with this newspaper via telephone yesterday, said that McPherson and the relative had a very cordial up to the night of his death.
Early Friday evening, a resident told this newspaper; McPherson went to the relative’s place, ate some food and collected a bottle of vodka. Some time after that McPherson ventured into a Mahdia Club.
McPherson, it is believed, was making his way to his lodgings located downhill from the airstrip when he was attacked from behind.
The area where McPherson’s body was discovered, a police source said, did not have a lot of blood. McPherson, according to the source, was wounded some distance away and began running after he was wounded. There was a trail of blood leading to the spot where the dead man was found.
McPherson, the source further said, frequented the Mahdia area and was not a “steady” miner as relatives said. The man was “a known character” in the area and was wanted in relation to about $100,000 in cash which had gone missing.
However, when this was related to one of McPherson’s two surviving older brothers the man insisted that his brother was indeed a miner and was not involved in such activities.
“Now that my brother dead they are going to find all kinds of thing to say about him,” the man said.
Preparations, the older brother also said, were being made to have McPherson’s body flown to the city. A post-mortem examination will be conducted on the body shortly. McPherson’s older sister, Racquell, was making arrangements with police to have the body brought from the interior location.
The woman, who spoke with this newspaper briefly via telephone yesterday, said she was on her way to the Brickdam Police Station. She further added that she’d been told by police that relatives would have to find $200,000 to have McPherson’s body transported to the city.
“My brother was murdered and this is now a state matter so I don’t see how they telling us we have to pay all that money,” the woman said.
McPherson is the latest of 17 murders which have occurred in the Police ‘E’ and ‘F’ Divison (Linden and interior locations in Regions 7, 8 and 9) for this year. Crime fighting, particularly in this expansive area, continues to be a major challenge for police.