Following the discovery of the charred remains of a body in the front passenger seat of a burned-out Range Rover on April 25, members of the public have expressed shock and disgust, but a senior police source said no one should be surprised.
In an interview with St. Lucia News Online, the senior officer said the discovery of charred human remains is nothing new to the island.
“There have been at least two other cases in the last five years including as recently as last year, but St. Lucians tend to possess short memory,” the source said. “It is very disturbing to know that we have such heartless criminals in this beautiful island, but reality is criminals anywhere in the world will try to destroy evidence by any means.”
The source pointed to a case in 2013 when the charred remains of Jefferson Clearmont aka Smurf of Babbonneau was discovered on Thursday, Oct. 24 in Belair.
The body was found in a wooden structure destroyed by fire.
The police had reported that about 8 a.m., Marigot Police Station officers received a report of the fire and went to a banana plantation at Belaire. While examining the scene, they found the body.
Four days later at a press briefing, Assistant Commissioner of Police Frances Henry told reporters that an “incision to the neck” was determined to be the cause of Clearmont’s death following the post mortem.
At the time of that press briefing, the body was unidentified, and when the body was officially identified the police never issued a press release.
Clearmont was well-known to the police and his death was ruled a homicide. No one was arrested for his murder.
The year 2010 also saw a similar case.
Two bodies were discovered burnt beyond recognition in the trunk of a gold Nissan Almera car, registration number PD681, about 7:45 a.m. on Monday, October 25, 2010 at Bois-Chardon Beach in Vieux-Fort.
The bodies were later identified as 19-year-old Jason Edward of Pierrot, Vieux-Fort and 17-year-old Kerisa Maximin of Belle-Vue, Vieux-Fort.
According to the police, the charred remains were analysed at the Forensic Lab at Tapion, Castries “by a DNA analyst, who was able to establish the identity of the individuals by means of DNA, compared from the charred remains to the possible mothers”.
Police had reported that the car in question was rented to the victims on Friday, October 22, 2010.
No one was ever arrested in connection with this incident.
The police source told SNO that there is no suggestion that the Oliver Gobat incident and those of Clearmont and the Vieux Fort double victims are related.
Gobat, described by United Kingdom (UK) media as a St. Lucian-born, British-educated multi-millionaire, was co-owner of Cap Maison, a five-star boutique hotel in Cap Estate, Gros Islet. He was also the executive director of the Landings Resort on Pigeon Island.
A post mortem examination which began on Monday, April 28, should have been completed on Tuesday, April 29. Until the results have not been disclosed and in the absence of scientific evidence, the police said it would “distance itself from reports published in the foreign press regarding the identity of this individual who is quoted to be the remains of Oliver Gobat of Cap Estate”.
However, Gobat’s family took to foreign media, expressing devastation over his death.
A memorial service for Gobat was held in St. Lucia on May 3. A memorial will be held in the UK in the near future with dates and details to follow, the Gabat family had said in a statement.
Since Gobat’s death, the UK media has published various reports on the incident including the possible reason behind his death and his cause of death.
To date, the St. Lucian police have not officially the confirmed the cause of his death and his identity.