Shemar threatened to kill himself on the day he died
In a stunning disclosure, the Coroner’s inquest into the May 14, 2015 death of 12-year-old Shemar Weekes was told Monday that on the very day the boy was found hanging at his Fryers Well, Checker Hall, St Lucy home, he had warned his stepfather Shawn Greaves that he would kill himself.
This evidence emerged publicly for the first time when investigating officer Station Sergeant Anthony Cadogan read out a detailed statement made to police by the boy’s mother Julieanne Weekes three days after the tragedy.
While Weekes was not called to testify today in the ongoing inquiry, Coroner Manila Renee asked Cadogan to read the statement – in Weekes’ presence – in which the mother gave a thorough account of what happened on the night that Shemar is believed to have committed suicide.
Asked why he did not get a written statement from Weekes on the day her son died, the officer said the mother appeared traumatized at the time, and that efforts were being made to get her counselling, while he had other unrelated duties to perform.
It was also revealed today that Weekes had disclosed to the officer that Shemar had told her on at least two previous occasions he was going to kill himself, but she did not take him seriously.
“I did not strangle my son . . . I did not see anyone strangle my son. The last time I saw my son, he was alone in the yard,” Weekes stated.
She also recalled that minutes before she discovered her son hanging, both of them had had a tug-o-war with the bedroom door. She explained that he had closed the door behind him and would not let go of the knob – which eventually jammed – when she tried to get out of the bedroom.
Her account of the events leading up to the suspected suicide of the former Coleridge & Parry Secondary School student was quite revealing as Station Sergeant Cadogan continued to read the statement.
“On Thursday, May 14, 2015, Shemar left for school as usual. He did not appear to be in a depressed state of mind. I took to school my other son and returned home,” Weekes said. “Shemar arrived home that evening and knocked on the kitchen door. I looked at my phone and it was about 10 minutes to 5. I told Shaquon [younger son] to open the door for him and he did so,” her statement went on. She noted that the deceased came in and had dinner as usual and then went outside to play.
Weekes said the boy returned home during the 7 p.m. television news cast and asked for bread to eat. “I was on the bed in the bedroom watching television. I told him to go and bathe first. He became annoyed at the fact that he had to bathe and began to give backchat. He quickly afterwards went into the shower which is within the same bedroom,” she added. Weekes noted that it was at this point that Shemar, on completion of his shower, swiftly left the bedroom and closed the door behind him. “I got up off the bed and went towards the bedroom door, but I could not get out because Shemar had the door knob holding from outside. Shemar and I had a tug-o-war with the door and the knob eventually became jammed . . . and I could not get out.” Weekes told the officer she had to use a knife to open the door, which took about 15 to 20 minutes.
She said in the statement that once out, she looked under the bed, which is in the dining room where he usually hid from her, but he was not there. She said she then looked in the backyard and saw her son sitting on a bucket. “I spoke with him about his behaviour and asked him to come in the house . . . he did not move, he remained on the bucket sitting down. I left him and went back in the bedroom and continued to watch the news. Shemar came to the bedroom window in the yard and called me; I looked at him and told him to come in the house and he refused.” Weekes recalled remaining in the bedroom for about ten minutes or more before going outside to see what the boy was doing. “When I got at the back door, I saw Shemar with the draw string bag around his neck. I immediately held onto him and removed the string from his neck and bring him in the house and placed him on the floor on his back,” Weekes said, adding that he was not making any sound and she became afraid. “I did not make any alarm when I saw Shemar hanging, as me and my neighbours do not agree with each other and I keep myself to myself.” She said she called her boyfriend who was at a nearby shop and he came and performed CPR, while she also summoned the ambulance. “The ambulance personnel arrived and hooked up Shemar to a machine and then told us he gone already, meaning that he already dead,” she pointed out.
“The bag Shemar used to hang himself is usually kept outside. I do not remember what he used it for. I think he used to take to school his shoes in it. It was not tied around his neck and I did not cut him down as I only had to remove the string from around his neck as it was not tied.”
In her statement she also noted that the younger son was asleep when she discovered Shemar’s body. She was also mindful to point out that her dead son knew his father had been shot for stealing, but claimed the tragedy did not affect him.
Also testifying Monday was Shemar’s class teacher at Gordon Walters Primary School, Michael Blackman, who said he did not report to the principal, claims made to him that the child was being abused by his mother because the child’s behaviour in class did not reflect that of someone who was being abused.
The Coroner asked the principal Tyrone Marshall to clarify the procedures that must be followed when such claims are made. Marshall told the inquest that Blackman should have reported the matter to him as is the standard procedure. The Coroner will hand down her decision next Monday.