UPDATE 22 OCT – The Jamaica Observer reported yesterday that two more men were arrested in connection with the murder of John Terry.
Police in Jamaica previously arrested one man, bringing the number held in Terry’s death to three. Read the Observer’s account of the most recent arrests here.
According to Stop Murder Music Canada, between 2005 and 2007, a total of 14 gay men were killed in Jamaica. The Jamaica Forum for Allsexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) says many more gay men and lesbains have been assulated because of their sexualities. Terry’s story made the international press largely because of who he was: a wealthy, white, UK diplomat. Most homophobic attacks and murders in Jamiaca go unreported.
14 SEP 2009 – An honorary consul to the British High Commission in Jamaica was found brutally murdered in his Montego Bay home on Sep 9.
John Terry was found naked, wrapped in a bloody sheet, with a cord wrapped tightly around his neck. He had been brutally beaten in the head. There was reportedly a note left with Terry’s body that read, “This is what will happen to all gays.” It was signed by “Gay-Man.”
Jason McFarlane of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays says at least one of the members of his organization knew Terry.
“Based on the note that the press says was found and the contents of it, and the fact that the person had time to sit and write it, it’s really premeditated and clearly homophobia linked,” McFarlane told Xtra on Sep 14.
This is only the latest in a long string of eerily similar homophobic murders in Jamacia. In 2004 the semi-nude and butchered body of gay activicist Brian Williamson was found in his New Kingston apartment. He was reportedly stabbed and chopped at more than 70 times with a machete. Eyewitnesses to the aftermath say his neighbours gathered to gawk and celebrate his death in the street outside his home. A young male newspaper vendor pleaded guilty to the killing.
In 2006 Jamaica’s highest-ranking trade official, Peter King, was found brutally murdered in his Kingston home. He was reportedly found naked with stab wounds to his upper chest. His throat was slashed and, according to several of Xtra sources, his genitals had been hacked from his loins and stuffed in his mouth. A man was sentenced on a manslaughter charge in King’s death earlier this year.
Read about Xtra’s visit to Jamaica here.