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Relatives of Canadian tourist murdered in Saint Lucia 20 years ago seek closure

By Dr Astrid Sjodin

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Tom Nugent

Today is the 20th anniversary of the murder of our cousin, Tom Nugent, who traveled from Canada to Saint Lucia to celebrate my brother’s, Steve Sjodin’s wedding.

Tom was 23 when he was killed, newly graduated with a business degree from Queen’s University, excited about starting his adult life, full of plans and hope.

We know he met some people in Castries the night before he died. He wrote in his diary of his plans to meet “Vincie (Donald)” the next day. We know he happily headed out on the afternoon of April 17.

The only other thing we know for sure is that later that day somebody stabbed Tom with a three-inch blade, using enough force to pierce his sternum, severing his pulmonary artery.

At that moment our lives changed forever. His mother has had to endure two decades of not knowing why someone murdered her only child, trying to understand how someone or some people could have been so cruel as to attack him and leave him to die alone. We, his extended family, have had to watch his mother suffer, wasting away, now stick-thin, completely reliant on others to live.

Tom Nugent

Not a day passes when Tom isn’t with us – even our happiest memories are shadowed by the sorrow and fury of what happened to him. We know that Saint Lucians are warm and kind – we have family and friends on the island who reassure us that the people who killed Tom and those that witnessed it were scared, perhaps motivated by threats of retaliation if they spoke up.

We’re hoping that since so much time has passed someone will be brave and strong enough now to share what they know about that awful night. Facts will maybe help us move on from our agony of ignorance.

I’m reaching out to ask if someone, anyone, can shed light on exactly what happened on April 17, 1999 in Saint Lucia, close to Marchand, where a much loved young man never made it to a calypso concert.

(13)(1)
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9 comments

  1. Steve Sjodin here - Tom’s cousin. When I got married to my wonderful Lucian wife, I had been living in St. Lucia for 9 years. I knew the place. At the time the Island still retained its innocence. Violent crime was not what it would become starting with Tom.

    Some here say it was a robbery gone wrong. However, he wasn’t robbed. His wallet was recovered with money in it. Witnesses described to police that the alleged perps had planned from the night before (they had met Tom the previous night) to show off to their friends how bad, how cool they were, by scaring the guy - terrorize him a bit. They brought a knife for this purpose. They had not intended to actually kill him. Of course once in the moment that all changed. They went all the way and stabbed my cousin - multiple times. He met them as planned to have some fun at a concert and what got was deep betrayal that ended his life.

    The one accused kid, Jahvis Jn. Baptist, seemed like a nut case. I believe I had met him years before one night as I stood in line at KFC in Castries. He came to me and asked for money. This was common enough and hardly memorable but for the fact that after I gave him my loose change he walked away without any thank you or acknowledgement at all. That made me look at him closer and I thought he looked ... off somehow. He was not all there and he had a menacing look about him. Maybe he was on drugs.

    Anyway, rumours about what happened to the accused and witnesses who went into hiding have swirled around for years. I’ve heard one witness committed suicide. I heard that one of the accused went on to kill again. No idea how true anything is.

    And there it sits to this day. St. Lucia has suffered too. Certainly tourism revenue is not what it might have been. Further killings have happened as thugs have become emboldened. The old St. Lucia with its charm and harmony are gone. Shame.

    (3)(0)
  2. Sorry to say if there is no justice for our own St.Lucian brothers and sisters do you think there will be towards your Canadian brother? Sad to say the RSLPF is working on their own time and pace incompetence to the max. Again someone know something but they have no conscious no empathy just a cold beast walking around ready to snap again who knows may be they have kill again but we will never know.

    (8)(0)
  3. Sorry to say but i don't have much hope of this case being solved.

    (5)(0)
  4. THOMAS NUGENT

    It appears Thomas Nugent was in the wrong place at the wrong time on April 17, 1999.

    The 23-year-old Dublin Crescent man and McMaster University business student was vacationing on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia to attend the wedding of his cousin. Nugent ran into trouble on the way to a calypso concert.

    Nugent was stabbed to death and found lying on a street in a poor section of St. Lucia’s capital city of Castries.

    Two local men were initially charged in the killing.

    (4)(0)
  5. Well most i can say robbery and he go stabbed

    (1)(10)
  6. What I don’t understand is that people say that Saint Lucians are warm and friendly yet the level of violence in our midst is horrendous for a small island of 170,000 people. Maybe we are just experts at being unempathetic, selfish hypocrites.

    (29)(3)
    • I totally agree with you, I see a lot of Lucians ( note I say a lot, not all) as money grabbing hypocrites with no morals or manners, its very sad.

      (18)(2)
  7. first of all i would never let any tourist go to marchand. hell no. thats not a place for visitors. someone tried to rob he maybe and they stabbed him

    (22)(6)
    • I get angry on behalf of poor people in poor neighbourhoods. Poverty is not synonymous to lawlessness and immorality! Someone or a group have been hiding in full view having committed murder. It is the lack of courage in doing the right thing that is at the centre of this sad, unresolved heartache and prolonged bereavement. I hope time gives courage to the faint hearted to be moved by the appeal and help to bring closure for Tom Nugent’s relatives.

      (13)(1)

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