Another young woman is dead after allegedly being stabbed in the neck by her boyfriend, who subsequently turned himself in to the police yesterday morning.
Dead is Shanece Lawrence, an employee of Hicksville Hotel, West Ruimveldt, who was allegedly killed by boyfriend, Jermaine Gavin Bristol, a security guard employed by GUYOIL, during a visit to the apartment the couple previously shared at Freeman Street, East La Penitence.
Stabroek News understands that subsequent to allegedly killing the woman, Lawrence made his way to the Brickdam Police Station where he was arrested after reportedly confessing to the crime.
Demani Hall, the owner of the apartment which Bristol was renting and who was home when the murder took place, expressed shock that there had been no sound or sign that would have indicated that a struggle or confrontation of any kind was taking place during the time his tenant allegedly killed Lawrence.
He explained that the couple had moved in to the self-contained apartment, which is located in the back half of the house, sometime in June this year. However, Hall said he observed sometime last week that Lawrence had stopped sleeping there but did not think too much of it.
“From since last week she stopped sleeping over, I noticed that but I know she works, both of them work, but sometimes she would work nights and sometimes she would work day and I know his schedule got him working night and day,” Hall related.
Commenting on the events of the morning, the landlord said he had overheard a conversation over the phone between Bristol, and who he assumed was Lawrence, earlier that morning before making his way round to the back sometime after, to inform the man that his brother had come to see him.
“I woke up hearing him telling her to come over, I’m making lasagna for my sister and friends from work, and like she was saying nah but he kept saying come over. Things got quiet after, but then his brother came and he shout out to me asking if his brother was home, I said yeah then went to open the gate for him and he came in,” Hall said.
“The brother explained that he (Bristol) had owed him some money and we went round at the back and he said yeah he’s going to the bank just now, so we left him and went back in front by the veranda, pull out two chair and just start talking,” Hall added.
According to the landlord, Lawrence was already inside the apartment with the man.
“I went in the house for a cigarette and I knew he took a shower because I could smell his cologne and everything so I came out and say yea he’s getting ready to go to the bank. Not long after he came out the other side of the house and left. We were sitting there and we could have seen him. We watched him cross the street and continue walking but assuming he gone to the bank to get the money for his brother,” the man shared.
Hall said Bristol’s brother left the house to return home a short distance away in order to put out a garbage bin for pick up, while he went up the road to a shop. However, when he (Hall) got back in the house he heard someone at the gate and went outside to make a check.
“I came back changed my clothes then I heard the gate and I ran to see who, because it’s only me and him had keys to this gate. So I see a police and I say okay that’s probably one of his friends cause he was a former police, but then I saw more than one police and when I looked through the window they asked if I’m living here and I said I’m the only one living in the front of the house, he’s [Bristol] in there. When I looked down I see shackles on his feet and I thought ‘oh you know they caught him buying weed or something’ and I was like ‘what’s up,’ but he had this crazy look on his face and wasn’t saying anything,” the man told Stabroek News.
“One of the sergeants I know ask me to come outside and then told me that the girl dead, then his brother came out and he started cussing, ‘why you didn’t leave that girl alone! It good for you what happen to you!’ And that’s when the block got word of it and I had to lock my door,” he added.
Hall also expressed shock that they did not hear any kind of commotion during the time the murder occurred.
“Me and his brother were sitting out front and we didn’t hear nothing…we didn’t hear no screams nothing at all, but mostly when he leaves she does go lay down and go to sleep. So I wasn’t really paying it no mind, plus I left after him so I didn’t know if she had left after or what. But that’s the messed up part, that girl didn’t scream because when the brother came you heard them talking they were having a conversation so everything was good up to then,” the man shared.
In response to questions asked regarding the possible occurrence of physical and verbal abuse between the couple, Hall said, “Since they’ve been here they’ve probably had three arguments and I look at it as they’re human beings…he wouldn’t hit her if he knew I was home because then he would have to hit me, and he aint got that kind of heart.”
“She was a very quiet person, I can’t say anything bad about her, she use to keep to herself,” he added.
Meanwhile, Yvonne Morris, an aunt of Bristol who spoke to the media, said she is at a loss as to what could have caused her nephew to commit such an act.
“I don’t know if they use to have any problems, she use to live with him and one morning he came and say she gone but they went to church Sunday. This morning she come and she ask me for him and I told her that he was by me and he went home back. She gave me a number to call him on but the number went to voicemail first then he call me back and ask where she is. I say she gone but I don’t know she didn’t gone, my grandchildren told me after that she was standing at the corner. I don’t know if he opened the back door and noticed her and she went there, but the next thing I know about an hour after my grandchildren call me and say look Jermaine and a van load of police gone in the yard and that’s when they told me Shanece dead,” Morris related.
“I don’t know what went wrong, they use to live together but I don’t know what happened and she went away,” she added.
However, the story at the Lawrence residence on Broad Street, painted a picture of abuse meted out to the young woman by Bristol.
“I got the call from my other daughter who knows where they were living and was probably going by them today when she saw heavy police presence around and was told she could not enter the yard. Then she said she heard talk around that this boy kill his girlfriend and she called me crying. I took a taxi and I went and my son was already there, and he called me on the phone and from the tone of his voice before he even told me what happened I realized what had happened,” Nicola Lawrence, mother of the dead woman said.
“I broke down and then my sons took me back before they removed her body…a woman was there from CID and she said she don’t want the mother, so my son had to go and identify the body,” she added.
According Lawrence, the couple had been involved in excess of four years and prior to relocating to East La Penitence, had lived with her in Broad Street.
“Both of them use to live here but there was an incident with him and someone else who lives here and I asked him to move out, but she eventually went with him too. “They use to have arguments but when it came to the hitting part I would not have encouraged it in my house…to tell you the truth only recently she told me they had a total of three fights since they went over there,” the woman shared.
Asked if she was aware of her daughter taking her reports of the alleged abuse to the police, Lawrence said a report had been filed some months ago by the now dead woman after the duo got into an altercation at a city hotel where Bristol allegedly threw away all of her belongings, including her clothing.
According to the mother, nothing seemed to have come of the matter and her daughter got involved with Bristol once more, she noted however, that the young woman was slowly beginning to distance herself from the man and had even started spending more time at their Broad Street home.
Meanwhile, Bonita Montaque, a representative of the United Bridge Builders Mission (UBBM), a Non-Governmental Organisation that champions anti-violence campaigns, who was present at the Lawrences’ residence offering support, called on the relevant authorities to pay keen attention to domestic violence.
“This is the end result of abuse and this is why we advocate strongly against abuse; it starts sometimes with a hard talk and it progresses until this is the finale and the finale can be either murder-suicide or in this case a murder. I believe Shanece is number 15 for the year which shows that we are moving at an alarming rate. Something needs to be done, we need more aggressive intervention…this is a national crisis and we are calling upon all the relevant authorities to pay keener attention to this crisis. We don’t want lip service anymore, we really want action because this life might have been saved,” Montaque said.
“How many more mothers, how many more families will have to go through this before it really stops?” she queried.
Stabroek News understands that Lawrence would have celebrated her 25th birthday in September.