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Mourners fled the cemetery after the attack on the man. (iWN photo)
Mourners fled the cemetery after the attack on the man. (iWN photo)

A man paying his final respects at his wife’s funeral was rushed to hospital on Sunday evening after being attacked and beaten by a mob at the Chauncey cemetery.

Some mourners used their bodies to attempt to shield Paul Stephen of Keartons, Barrouallie from the blows inflicted on him.

The man was paying final respects to his wife, Je-Tonnia Thomas-Stephens, 32, who was found dead at their home around 6 a.m. on May 10.

All indications are that she died overnight.

Witnesses say Mr. Stephens, 42, appeared to have a large wound to his face after being struck with stones about the body at the burial ground.

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The commotion resulted in mourners scampering from the burial ground even before the deceased was given her “crown of roses” — flowers were placed on her grave.

The development came after a funeral service at the Questelles Seventh-day Adventist Church during which Mr. Stephen gave a tribute to his late wife.

Jetonnia Stephens
Je-Tonnia Thomas-Stephens died of cardiac arrest, an autopsy has concluded.

When Stephens found his wife dead on May 10, he called police, who noted that the woman’s body had no sign of violence or foul play.

However, that did not stop persons from speculating that Mr. Stephens was somehow involved in the death of his wife.

Some persons took to social media circulating a photo of a woman with her throat slashed, claiming that it was Mrs. Stephens’ body.

However, police indicated that the photo was not that of the deceased woman.

An autopsy later revealed that Mrs. Stephens died of heart failure related to an undiagnosed heart condition that had made the organ larger than normal.

One relative has agonized to iWitness News over the fact that the heart condition had gone undiagnosed after the woman’s encounters with the healthcare system during and after her pregnancy.

“She has a 4-month-old baby. She should have been showing signs and they should have picked it up. I don’t know how that add up,” the relative told iWitness News in immediate reaction to the findings of the autopsy.

The finding of the pathologist seems to have halted some of the speculations about the woman’s death.

Police respond to the incident at Chauncey on Sunday. (iWN photo)

However, Sunday’s development shows that some persons remained unconvinced that Mr. Stephens was not involved in his wife’s death.

The decision of the mob to inflict the savage beating on the man seems to be part of an emerging trend where some persons seem to think that they have a right to take the law into their hands and “punish” persons who have not been charged with or committed of a crime.

On May 18, residents of Petit Bordel inflicted a savage beating on Simeon “Gabo” Francois, 33, who was wanted by police in connection with an investigation into the abduction and sexual assault of a child.

Earlier that same week, a resident of the North Leeward village had stood by and commented while others filmed, on mobile devices, a brutal attack of a woman who was at the time holding her 1-year-old baby.

The fracas escalated and resulted in the woman receiving a chop wound that almost severed her left hand.

Last week, acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Frankie Joseph, spoke out against vigilante justice in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We are not in any way supporting vigilante justice Vigilante justice, in our estimation, is for societies that are lawless, and the police force is in no way, shape or form promoting or supporting vigilante justice. It has never been a part of our culture and therefore it should never inculcate into our culture,” he told a press conference.

He said that the police are the only investigative arm of the state in SVG and are responsible for investigating all offences.

“… while we are very grateful for the working relationship that we have with [the public of]…, we are also going to caution and discourage every single citizen not to take matters into their own hands.”

Joseph said that when the police issue a wanted person bulletin, they appreciate any information from the public that can lead to the arrest of the person.

“If the residents can restrain [the wanted person], we are encouraging the public to use the force that is necessary to restrain or to take that person to the police because we are not going to encourage or tolerate vigilante justice,” he said.

21 replies on “Grieving husband beaten savagely at wife’s funeral”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    This is a symptom of the fact that many people feel that “the system” — the police, the political apparatus, the judiciary, the operation of class privilege — are all stacked against them.

    Many also believe, myself included, that the formal system of justice has become increasingly incompetent and compromised.

    Who can truly say that our medical system is skilled enough to do a proper autopsy when in far more developed societies bodies are routinely exhumed years later with the results of a more detailed examination showing a far different cause of a person’s death.

    I urge that an independent investigation of the cause of this woman’s death by impartial, highly training outsiders needs take place.

    Something doesn’t add up here.

    1. Limiske Berkley says:

      With all due respect you are making absolutely no sense. Are you the doctor? How can you say such a thing you have no sympathy whatsoever. From reading your comment you are saying that the doctors does not know what they are doing. Be careful of the words you say Mr. So even if he killed his wife, Do they have any authority to do such things what they did. Stop being ignorant and stupid, they had no call whatsoever to hit the man they are not the law.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    So what was the cause of this woman’s cardiac arrest — whay did her heart suddenly stop beating causing her immediate death?

    One of these causes is poisoning by one of many substances.

    Why weren’t we told what caused the cardiac arrest?

    Something is fishy here.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      Yes, I know there is talk about an “enlarged heart” but there are many other causes of heart failure.

      An enlarged heart may be caused by many conditions, most of them not fatal.

    2. @c. ben-David I really thought better of you, but then again this is not dealing with Argyle International Airport or the politics of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, so I should not have expected better. Those of us in the medical field are saddened by this woman’s death and angered at the reaction of some people to her husband. But appalled at the misinformation you spouted and the doubt and innuendo that I’m sure would be the result. FYI c. ben-David et al, any poisonous substance would’ve been found in the autopsy. That is a given. Secondly, the article was clear that the woman had an enlarged heart with can be the cause of cardiac arrest and failure. Time and space would not permit me to go into the conditions that can cause an enlarged heart. For the sake of peace and the prevention of another unfortunate incident, it’s incumbent upon all of us in this blessed nation, that we stop the speculation and innuendo.

      1. C. ben-David says:

        Medical misdiagnosis and malpractice are common enough in the most developed countries of the word. But I guess they never happen in little SVG.

        Your self-righteous indignation speaks volumes.

      2. If you are actually a medical practitioner trying to defend yourself and your colleagues, why are you fearful of using your real name and position?

        As for me, I have a well grounded fear, based on Internet death threats, of ending up in the morgue at the MCMH with my throat slit but diagnosed as having died from natural causes. Naturally, I would not like that to happen even as I would accept dying from the natural cause called old age.

        By the way, please pass on the name of the resident pathologist assigned to the MCMH. I have not been able to find a listing of any of the hospital’s medical personal on the Ministry of Health web site, yet another example of chronic secrecy in this regime.

  3. In no way should anyone in the society be allowed or encouraged to approach a perpetrator of any crime whatsoever. If they know the whereabouts or have information , they should call the police forthwith, end of story.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      So, if ordinary citizens observe someone being beaten to death, they should either run away or take photos with their cell phones?

      For people like you, citizenship and compassion are worthless concepts.

  4. Vincy Lawyer says:

    C Ben are you a family member to be previewed to such confidential information? This is why the nation is like this. We have become a nation of instigators and assumptions. An autopsy was done and a report prepared. But no…..that isn’t enough. Only thing fishy is your assumptions!

    Leon, I concur. This sudden vigilante justice aka judge, jury and executioner is wrong and ought to be condemned by all. This trend kills the presumption of innocence, gives way to anyone stating xyz and any accused being beaten etc without investigation and simply is the commission of further offences.

    Two wrongs will never make a right!

    Alas, was it the time or place for crying out loud?

    For the husband to be a part of the funeral suggests that the family found peace or acceptance. I guess society couldnt?

    1. C. ben-David says:

      Nice try but you are dead wrong because you mindlessly assume that the results of an autopsy are unimpeachable, indirectly inferring that they are just as infallible as judicial verdicts in civil or criminal trials, a nonsensical inference because they often are overturned on appeal to a higher and more learned court just as many medical diagnoses are overturned by the findings of more skilled practictioners.

      My position is that medical opinions in little SVG should be treated as no more than provisional, based on my personal experience and those of others who have been misdiagnosed or otherwise given inappropriate or indifferent treatment.

      Doctors are not gods and neither are judges.

      1. Assumptions, negativity, pessimism and propaganda seem to be your oxygen so breathe on!!!!

        You know so much sometimes it appears as if you know nothing.

        Gwan Mr. Know it all, breathe on!!!

  5. An enlarged heart that is not cared for is a silent killer! She must have had high blood pressure. She must have had an irregular heart beat. Looking back someone must have recalled that she got tired easily, out of breath.

  6. This is a very disturbing trend that is now becoming habitual in SVG; however, when citizens begin to distrust their legal system, one can expect to see this brutal conclusion. This will only escalate if our leaders refuse to be accountable for their wrong doing.

  7. Lawlessness rules the land the place is just a mess cant never hear anything good just rape robbery killing fighting scandals

  8. The police need to prove to the nation they have crime under control especially gun related crime. Or the people will have to do what it takes to secure themselves and their love ones

  9. Are you a doctor c.ben you condone this type of behavior ?. I taught the story is about a man been savagely beaten at his wife funeral I now see why things are like it is in SVG with this type of mentality and line of thinking how could SVG ever become a top of the line tourist destination with barbaric behaviour like this going on in 2018 and people speculating how the young lady died .

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