Last edited: June 10, 2004

Gay Rights Activist Stabbed to Death

Cops Say No Sign of Break-in at Gay Rights Activist’s Home

Jamaica Observer, June 10, 2004
2 Fagan Ave., Kingston 8, Jamaica
Fax: 876-931-5190

Observer Reporter

Brian Williamson, Jamaica’s most prominent gay rights activist, was yesterday found stabbed to death at his Haughton Avenue residence in Kingston.

Police said they were searching for two men who were with him at his apartment prior to his death.

“At this time the police are theorising robbery to be the motive as a money safe he had is missing and the apartment was ransacked,” said Corporal Devon Hugh Williams of the Constabulary Communication Network (CCN). “(But we have) a strong lead that there were two men at the apartment earlier in the morning.”

But the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), a group which Williamson founded, yesterday branded the killing a “hate-related crime”.

Williamson, the group said, was “one of Jamaica’s most courageous human rights activists” who had been killed because he was a highly visible homosexual.

Jamaica has an international reputation for being highly intolerant of homosexuals and has, in the past, fallen under pressure from the international community, especially Britain. Some local artistes have been banned from performing in other countries because of their strong anti-homosexual lyrics.

Williamson’s body was found lying face down in a pool of blood on his bedroom floor. There were multiple stab wounds on his neck.

There were no signs of forced entry to his room, one of three to the rear of the building that also has eight suites that the slain man had rented to commercial entities, the cops said.

Desmond Chambers, one of two men with whom Williamson shared the three bedrooms, said he stumbled upon the body at about 11:15 am. Chambers does maintenance work around the property. He had returned home to get a key, he said, when he noticed that the air-conditioning system was running, an unusual thing for Williamson to do when he leaves home. The door, Chambers said, was ajar.

“I knocked and (pushed) the door and I saw him on the floor,” he added.

He pointed the finger at the two men whom the cops are now tracking.

According to Chambers, one of the men was a regular guest of the deceased.

“I have seen him here about six times (and) anything him want, Brian give him. Brian give him money, Brian give him food and help him to purchase (newspaper) to sell on the road,” he fumed.

Though buggery is illegal in Jamaica, Williamson was openly gay. He was very vocal on gay rights issues, penning many letters to the editors of newspapers, speaking on local radio talk shows and appearing at least once on a television programme.

Yesterday, his horrific murder had tongues wagging.

The blood-splattered floor of his room was just as shocking as the huge picture of a naked male affixed to the door of his room.

A television set lay face down on his ransacked bed, while bottles of beer and other beverages lined makeshift shelves on the wall which also housed boxes labelled “gay reading material”.

Letters were spilled all over a broken down computer workstation and his black computer, the colour of most of the furniture in the room, was still on. It appeared he had checked his e-mail minutes before he died.

Outside the building a huge crowd gathered, among them a handful of Williamson’s close friends who were obviously grief-stricken.

Traffic slowed along Haughton Avenue as motorists stopped to pry.

His sister Gradryn Williams, who was accompanied to the scene by Father Michael Lewis of the Stella Maris Church, cried openly.

“What have they done to Brian?” she asked tearfully.

Friends convinced her not to look at her brother’s mutilated body.

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