Jamaican man chops woman then sets house on fire, killing boy and injuring ex-lover

Stewarton residents view the charred remains of the house in which Hamilton 16-year-old Leroy Hamilton was killed.

(Jamaica Observer) THERE was mourning yesterday at Central High School in Clarendon for 16-year-old Leroy Hamilton, who fell victim to the rage of his sister’s jealous ex-lover, when he torched their dwelling, killing the boy and leaving his 24-year-old sister nursing severe burns.

Before setting the house on fire the violent man — identified by the police as 41-year-old Craig Lawrence — forced himself into the Stewarton, Mocho, house, where he chopped the 53-year-old mother of his ex-lover in the face and on the right hand.

Lawrence was later found hanging in what police believe was a suicide.

The constabulary’s Corporate Communication Unit said the incident took place about 2:25 am.

Residents claimed that Lawrence and his ex-lover had frequent quarrels.

There were tears aplenty for the youngster of whom teachers and students spoke glowingly when the Jamaica Observer visited the school yesterday.

“I really miss Leroy; he was a different boy from the rest. The other guys would do stupid things to get attention, [but] he was not that type; he would do the right thing. He’s always properly attired. He will keep the class clean, and would ensure that the teacher’s desk is well prepared for the teacher to come to class. He’s always trying to settle the class, giving them a word of encouragement. It’s just a sad moment for Central High School,” Form Teacher Kevin Peters told the Observer, adding that when he saw Hamilton organising the classroom on Tuesday he never thought that would have been the last time he would see him alive.

“When the sweepers come in the evening they remove the chairs and they don’t normally replace them. So based on the fact that he is always early he would be the one to ensure that they are organised… It’s just the manner that he has departed.

Peters, who teaches welding and mechanical engineering, said: “I found him to be a really quiet and cooperative student who gets along well with his fellow classmates. He’s always on time, always put together. He’s one of the most well-behaved in the class, and I was considering him to be [form] monitor. The documents that I had written up weren’t submitted to the supervisor, so it was not handed in, but his name was on the paper,” the teacher added.

Leroy’s desk, close to the back of his Grade 10 classroom, was decorated with flowers and a picture of him. The whiteboard was also decorated with tributes from his peers, who sought to express themselves as a part of the grieving process.

Acting Principal Uvalyn Dailey said said that many students were overcome with grief yesterday morning and so received counselling from the trauma team sent by the Ministry of Education.

She added that when she received the telephone call this morning informing her of the incident she was in disbelief.

“The little boy a one bright youth. Him no late fi school. Him no stop on the road,” one Mocho resident said.

Another resident, Germey Thomas, 52, said he trembled like a leaf when he came out of his yard about 3:00 am and saw what had taken place.

“Me a sinner and me pray fi him [Lawrence] dead. It wicked man,” Thomas lamented.

“I have five children about the place, but, my youth dem aside, him (Leroy) a one a di best behaving youth in the community,” he added.

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