Shock as country records ninth homicide of the year

A section of Tanner Street remained closed off yesterday (Photo by Observer media)
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By Latrishka Thomas

The apparent murder of a hairdresser in the heart of St John’s on Saturday night has left residents shocked.

The 45-year-old – named locally as Simone Whyte – is said to have died from a stab wound.

One woman, who told Observer she had been at the scene, said, “I can’t believe he just come up to her and slash her throat because she have another man.

“I just hear people making a lot of noise and I hear plenty blood was all over. That’s scary,” she said.

Another man who claimed to know both the victim and alleged killer said, “I still can’t believe. I would never expect him to do that.”

Police said yesterday that a man was in their custody assisting with investigations. No charges had been laid up to press time.

The horrific incident occurred at around 8.30pm at a store located at the junction of Market and Tanner streets. The woman, from All Saints village, was pronounced dead around two hours later.

After the incident, the perpetrator reportedly fled the scene, and the police launched a manhunt to capture him. Reports indicate the pair were ex-lovers who had had a toxic relationship.

The woman, who worked at a nearby hair salon, was apparently socialising in the area when the assailant attacked her with a sharp object upon seeing her with another man.

She is said to have moved to Antigua just over three years ago and is the mother of four children who reside in Jamaica.

Local vendors told Observer yesterday of their shock at hearing the news. The woman was well known in the area and several paid tribute to her pleasant personality and skills as a hairdresser.

“She used to come in my shop regularly to buy groceries,” one Market Street store owner said. “She was a very nice person. A lot of people knew her because they used to go to the salon.”

A street vendor described her as “very cool”. “I used to see her occasionally; she used to come down to the restaurants to get food,” he added.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard what happened,” another vendor said. “I have never heard of anything like this in the 10 years I have lived in Antigua,” she added.

Meanwhile, lawyer Wendel Robinson told Observer he had been retained by the accused’s family to represent him.

He revealed the man was currently in hospital for an apparent stab wound to the neck and had undergone emergency surgery on Saturday night.

“He is under armed guard at Mount St John’s Medical Centre and is recovering,” Robinson said.

Whyte’s death takes the country’s homicide count for 2020 to nine – compared to just three in 2019.

The first murder this year was that of Troy ‘Monkey’ Baptiste of Bendals in January.

Since then Kareem Santiago of Yorks, Dave Anthony of Potters, Bruce Greenaway of Falmouth, Phillip Luggs of Potters, Nigel Christian of McKinnons, Fitzroy Robins of Point, and Aiden Jean-Baptiste have also met their demise.

In addition to the Tanner Street tragedy, three of the murder probes are yet to result in an arrest. They are those of Baptiste, Anthony and Christian.

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