Courts Road residents scared, angry

Two surprisingly similar attacks along the same stretch of Courts Road in George Town have residents concerned that thugs are robbing and beating people going home from work or targeting those who are simply taking a walk through the neighbourhood.

Archdeacon Hollis Lynch

Archdeacon Hollis Lynch at the St. Georges Anglican church and pre-school said he’s “concerned” about recent beatings and muggings in his neighbourhood. Photo: Brent Fuller

Both of the incidents happened between the hours of midnight and 1am. In both cases the victims were approached from behind and struck on the head, possibly with a baseball bat.

In the first attack, which occurred on 3 September, the victim was riding his bike home from work. He was found unconscious lying in the road and apparently never saw his attacker. Police said the man’s wallet was stolen along with some other items.

Richard Bodden, who lives right next to where the attack occurred, said he first thought the man had been struck by a vehicle in the street, and only later found out he’d been mugged.

‘It’s scary, because I come home late at night,’ Mr. Bodden said. ‘But I’m not so concerned about me, what happens about the time they decide to do it in the day and my mother is in, or my daughter?’

The second incident happened three days later, about 15 minutes after midnight Sunday. The victim was struck by one of two attackers who snuck up on him from behind as he walked along Courts Road with a friend. Again, the weapon was believed to be a baseball bat but this time, nothing was taken.

‘Although we cannot directly link the first and second incident, we are working on the premise that they could be connected,’ Royal Cayman Islands Chief Inspector Peter Kennett said Tuesday. ‘This is clearly a concern for the police and community alike.’

The two attacks have happened late at night, but they have also occurred within a block of a pre-school and church located on Courts Road, Saint Georges Anglican.

‘As director of the church here, I am concerned,’ said St. Georges Archdeacon Hollis Lynch. ‘The children leave here about four, five, sometimes six o’clock they’re here. And not all parents are blessed with cars either.’

Both Archdeacon Lynch and Mr. Bodden said one of the major problems is that certain stretches of Courts Road aren’t properly lit by street lights. There are actually only two street lights in the general area of where the first attack on 3 September occurred.

‘And we had to beg and plead to get that (light) put here 18 years ago when we moved in,’ Mr. Bodden said.

Mr. Lynch said nightly walks are difficult not only because of the lack of lighting, but he said the streets around Courts Road are all torn up.

‘I used to walk at night…leave around 8 or 8.30pm…sometimes I’d walk to Texaco and go on to the airport,’ he said. ‘I’d have no fear until I reached Courts Road.’

Mr. Kennett said police admit that lighting in the area is poor.

‘It’s very dark in that area so we have requested that the lighting be addressed by CUC,’ he said, adding that patrols in the area will be paying particular attention to Courts Road in the coming weeks.

Mr. Lynch said that the pre-school has been forced to lock the gates to its playground area at night after the children go home as a security measure. He said he’s also worried that ‘illegal activities’ are going on in the church parking lot after hours.

Mr. Bodden puts it more bluntly.

‘There been people that I’ve seen…riding back and forth, walking back and forth. Someone is selling drugs somewhere in the area, but there’s nothing to prove it,’ he said.

Chief Inspector Kennett urged residents to report suspicious activity to police, particularly anyone seen lurking in the Courts Road area wearing dark clothing.

No arrests had been reported in the attacks at press time.