2008 highest year for murders

Cayman saw its highest homicide rate in living memory in 2008 with police investigating seven murder cases throughout the year.

Most of the victims have been Caymanians, while one was Canadian and one Swiss.

In 2004, there were six murders on the island, the previous highest recorded rate. There were three killings in each year for 2005, 2006 and 2007, and four in 2003.

Despite the increasing number of killings, Cayman’s homicide rate remains well below that of most Caribbean countries.

On January 21, the first and youngest victim, 18-year-old Josh Hooker was shot to death in the bedroom of his home in Kennedy Drive in George Town while his two-year-old son was with him. The child was not harmed. No-one has been charged with the crime.

Less than three weeks later, the beaten body of 40-year-old Swiss banker Frederic Bise was found in the boot of his own vehicle which had been set alight in the early hours of 8 February. Police have not made any charges in the case.

On 23 February, Aaron William Berry, 23, died after being stabbed in the throat outside the Everglo Bar in Bodden Town during a fight. Police charged a 20-year-old man with the killing. He was sentenced for manslaughter.

May saw two murders occurring within days of each other. Around midnight on 17 May, the naked body of 20-year-old Brian Rankine was found in a car park at McField Lane in George Town. He had apparently been a victim of a machete attack. A man has been charged with his murder.

Three days later, police were investigating the death of Canadian Martin Gareau, 47, whose badly beaten body was found inside his house in Beach Bay. Police arrested one man who has been charged with his murder.

Mark Jefferson, 23, was killed outside Kelly’s Bar in Birch Tree Hill Road in West Bay on 11 July. A post mortem showed he had been shot three times. A second man was also shot twice, but survived. One man was arrested in connection with the case, but no charges were laid.

The case that sent major shockwaves through Cayman occurred on 10 October when the body of Estella Scott-Roberts, communications manager for Cable & Wireless and a well-known advocate for women’s rights, was found inside her burnt-out car in Barkers in West Bay. She had last been seen leaving Deckers restaurant on West Bay Road. Two men have been charged with her murder.

Following her death, more than 2,000 people took to the streets in the annual Silent Witness March to pay tribute to her work with victims of domestic violence.

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