Three people have been attacked in two separate incidents within the past month in different areas of Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach, the Caymanian Compass has confirmed.
The attacks were not proactively reported by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, although police did provide some brief information to the newspaper regarding one incident that happened early New Year’s Day.
In both instances, the one on New Year’s Day and the other on 9 December, the victims came forward and told their stories. An arrest has been made in connection with the 9 December attack; there’s been no word yet on any arrests for the New Year’s Day incident.
For Caroline Lackey and Brian Burkholder, New Year’s 2013 turned from a party to a nightmare within the space of a few minutes.
The married couple said they were returning home to the Cayman Reef complex on the southern end of Seven Mile Beach around 3.45am on 1 January.
“We were just coming back from our friend’s party and we were cutting through Seagull [next door to the Cayman Reef] and there was a picnic table stacked with coolers and alcohol and everything else,” Ms Lackey said. “We saw a couple of people still milling about and we just figured they were part of that party. We just said ‘Happy New Year’ and I actually might have given one of them a hug … as you would think that would be appropriate on New Year’s.”
In retrospect, Ms Lackey said that was probably a bad idea because the group of three men refused to leave her and her husband alone.
“One of the guys started pulling me back against him, it obviously wasn’t appropriate,” Ms Lackey said. “I tried to jokingly … pass it off as ‘maybe he’s had too much to drink’. But it got out of hand when he put my hand on his groin.”
Mr. Burkholder said he asked the man to back off his wife and picked up his phone to call 911. One of the suspects slapped it out of his hand, he said. At that stage, things got more out of control.
Ms Lackey said she didn’t want the three to know where she and her husband lived, so she sat down on the seawall just in front of her apartment. Two of the three suspects sat down on either side of her.
“Brian kept saying to me ‘just get in the condo, Carrie, just get in the condo,’” she said. “But I didn’t want them to know where we lived. I sat down on the seawall outside of our condo and started saying ‘guys can you just not chill’? The two guys sat down with me on either side. I looked at the third guy and said ‘can you not do something to calm your friends down’? And I believe his words were ‘I’m just standing here to see who’s going to throw the first punch’.”
At this point, Mr. Burkholder said he pulled his wife into condo through the beach-front door. “The second guy basically grabbed me in the midriff and tried to pull me back out … so it was kind of a tug of war,” Ms Lackey said. “We both realised it had escalated out of control. Both of us were trying to get into the condo and get the door closed.
“One guy put his arms through the door and punched Brian in the face five times. It was like one of those episodes from the movies where they drop the keys right at the door. We couldn’t get it closed.”
The couple finally lost the battle to get the door closed and Mr. Burkholder said he retreated inside to get a knife. That’s when the three men apparently decided they’d had enough and ran away.
“They saw a couple, vulnerable; you had one guy that’s trying to feel me up, the other guy saying ‘well, aren’t you going to do anything to protect your woman?’ and the third guy saying ‘who’s going to throw the first punch?’” Ms Lackey said.
Mr. Burkholder believes much worse could have come of it: “If they had beaten the crap out of me and had her alone? I don’t know.” “They looked like they were at the party and it was sort of like neighbour-to-neighbour, Happy New Year,” Ms Lackey said. “Do we not say anything to anyone ever again? Maybe if I hadn’t been so bloody friendly, none of this would have happened.”
The evening of 9 December, Jessica Roberts pulled up to Calico Jack’s bar on the northern end of Seven Mile Beach to have a drink.
Problem was, no one was at the bar. Instead, there were a bunch of people standing on the beach and yelling.
Ms Roberts said she assumed some sort of fight was going on and someone was yelling to call 911, so she ran up to West Bay Road just in front of the bar and did so.
While on the phone, Ms Roberts noted someone from the corner of her eye walking up the beach and then again down the beach keeping in her general vicinity. She got the idea he had been involved in the bust-up, but wasn’t certain.
“I called 911 … and as I turned around, he was running at me and grabbed my bag,” she said.
The guy got away with it and ran off south down the darkened beach. Ms Roberts ran after him.
In hindsight, the Canadian national admits it probably wasn’t the wisest decision. However, there was one thing in Ms Roberts’ favour; she’s a certified Krav Maga instructor. Krav Maga is a brutal form of martial arts that focuses on incapacitating opponents as quickly as possible.
“I was thinking some punk took my bag and wanted to get it back,” Ms Roberts said. “I wasn’t thinking ‘psycho with weapon’.”
At the edge of the Surfside Bar property, just south of Calico’s, the robber stopped and turned to face Ms Roberts.
“I was like ‘please give me my stuff back’,” she said. “I begged him for a while. He eventually dropped [the bag] in front of him. I don’t know if he just dropped it or if he was giving it back to me. I picked it up and grabbed my wallet and I grabbed the money out of it and said ‘here, take this and turn around. Please take the money and go away.’”
Unbelievably, the would-be robber took this opportunity to attack Ms Roberts.
“He put the money into his pocket and he goes ‘and now you’re dead girl’ … and that’s when I noticed he had something in his hand. He started stabbing and stabbing and stabbing at me,” she said. “I blocked it and punched him in the throat a couple of times and stunned him and we were both standing waiting for the other person to do something. Then he came at me again and started stabbing and stabbing and I blocked him and punched him and kicked him, then he got discouraged I guess. He turned, I think he turned to run, but as soon as he turned his head I turned around and ran.”
Ms Roberts took some damage herself in the fight. Two puncture wounds from a screwdriver, one jab was blocked by her hip bone on the right side, the other jab narrowly missed her liver. She realises today that she’s been extremely lucky.
“I’m very grateful that it happened to me and not someone else,” she said.
Since the attack, Ms Roberts has been informed that a suspect has been arrested in connection with the incident. At press time, he had not been charged.