Family of young man marks second anniversary of his tragic death

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by Gemma Handy

Flowers mark the spot where Shawn Warner lost his life. Two years on from the tragedy, the poignant scene greets his devastated family each morning when they arrive to open their Jolly Beach restaurant.

Today, they will mark the second anniversary of that fateful evening on November 6 2018 when life changed forever.

The popular father-of-two was just 27 years old when he was apparently electrocuted near the entrance to the beach, although the exact cause of death remains the subject of legal action.

This morning, his mother and siblings will gather at the site and later at his grave to share memories of the keen footballer, loved for his ready smile and willingness to help others.

“We are still very sad, we miss him a lot and every day we are thinking about him, especially when we are coming into work and we have to walk past that same area,” his mother Sandra Warner told Observer.

“He was loving, he was helpful, he always had a smile, he was everything to us.”

She said Shawn’s son Kishawn, now seven, did not understand where his daddy had gone.

“Every day when he wakes up he asks for his dad. We try to explain to him but I don’t think he understands his dad died because he asks when he’s coming back,” she added.

Shawn’s sister Natasha described the last two years as “really tough”.

“It’s hard coming into the house, knowing he’s not there, seeing his things, his car,” she said.

She continued that the sudden nature of his death had made it harder to cope.

“We had no time to say goodbye, he wasn’t sick, we didn’t hold his hand while he was on a sick bed knowing he was dying. We didn’t get that opportunity like some people do. It just happened out of the blue; it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

The sight of seeing him on a stretcher is a “memory I see in front of me every day that I’m going to have to live with for the rest of my life”.

“Everybody keeps saying you will get over it but it’s not easy getting over it because it’s not like a normal death,” she continued.

“I saw my brother that same day; I went to him when he was in his car asking to borrow his dustpan to take some dust out of my vehicle – and that was the last time I saw him.”

The close-knit family, from Jennings New Extension, have run Sandra’s Bar and Grill on Jolly Beach together for several years and the five remaining siblings are “very close”, Natasha said.

“We run the business on the beach, we are always together, we celebrate life, birthday, everything together.”

And today they will unite once again to pay tribute to the brother they adored.

“We are going to go to the graveside like we normally do and spend a little time, put some new flowers down at Jolly Harbour. We are planning to clean up the area where it happened and make it look nice,” Natasha said.

“But really just to remember him for a day of silence and remember his life. He was a very fun person, very jovial, always smiling, he never let anything bother him.

“We just have to try and be strong for our mother.”

In addition to working at the family restaurant, Shawn had a knack for mechanics and a love for cars. He dreamed of one day opening his own car rental and car wash company.

The family have done just that – and named both in his honour, Natasha said, adding, “Those are the two things he wanted to do that we have honoured his memory by doing.”

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