By Michael Jordan
Had it been a horror movie, some psychic force might have whispered a warning to Madonna Welcome. But this was real life, so Madonna walked right past the Matthew’s Ridge playfield without the slightest inkling that her sister, Samantha Ashby, lay dead just a few feet away.
It certainly never entered her head that her sister could have met such a cruel end. Not after all this time; when 32-year-old Samantha had walked away from her old life as a commercial sex worker.
Samantha’s story was that of so many other pretty girls who live in interior locations like Matthew’s Ridge, North West District, a place with few educational opportunities and too many free-spending men. By the time she was in her late teens, Samantha had fallen in with the wrong crowd.
“We tried talking her out of it, but she chose that way of life,” her sister, Madonna, told me.
But the fun-loving woman finally settled down with a young man from the community. All it took was one night out to change that…
On the night of Monday, September 15, 2014, Samantha Ashby visited a relative’s shop at Matthew’s Ridge. The shopkeeper remembers seeing her drinking with three men. Samantha’s companions were said to be newcomers to Matthew’s Ridge who were working with a businessman from the community. They say that two were porters, while the third was a miner. One of the men went by the nickname ‘Killer.’
According to reports, no one saw them leave.
At around 11:00 hrs the following day, a group of students who were training for school sports entered the Matthew’s Ridge Community Centre ground. They ventured further onto the playfield, and it was then that they spotted a woman’s body.
Someone had dumped her at the side of the community centre. She was clad in her brassiere; her underwear lay a short distance away.
The students immediately contacted a teacher, who identified the victim as Samantha Ashby.
Ashby’s killers had raped her then beaten her to death, some 30 yards from her home. Pathologist Dr. Nehaul Singh established that she had suffered
multiple injuries, including a broken hip and fractured skull. Detectives retrieved two condoms from the scene.
Madonna, who confirmed the victim’s identity, recalled that she had passed that area a few hours earlier on her way to work. Knowing that her sister was not one “to take ‘stupidness’ from people,” Madonna believed that the five feet seven inches tall Samantha would have put up a valiant fight before being overpowered.
Detectives soon learned about Samantha’s night out, and picked up her three companions. They brought the suspects to Georgetown and interrogated them at CID Headquarters, Eve Leary. But the detectives found nothing to implicate the men, and released them on advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions. Investigators also took DNA samples from the suspects, and similar samples from the two condoms that they retrieved from the crime scene. It’s unclear whether those samples were ever sent to an overseas lab.
Madonna is convinced that these same men know more than they are saying about her sister’s death. She alleges that about two months before Samantha’s murder, one of the suspects had stalked another one of her sisters.
Madonna also believes that there are people at Matthew’s Ridge who may have actually witnessed the attack on Samantha.
“It (the crime scene) is close to the police station. How is it that nobody heard anything and people are living near to the (Matthew’s Ridge) Community Centre? People know what happened, but they are afraid to talk.”
But there’s a saying in forensic circles that the dead speak, and there’s that slim hope that, sometime in the future, the contents of two used condoms will help to unmask Samantha Ashby’s killers.
If you have any information about this or any other unusual case, please contact Kaieteur News by letter or telephone at our Lot 24 Saffon Street, Charlestown offices. Our numbers are 592-225-8465, 592-225-8473 and 592-225-8458. You need not disclose your identity.
You can also contact Michael Jordan at his email address [email protected]
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