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Grandad (71) from Antrim is shot dead on Jamaica trip

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 18/11/2015

Winston Samuels with his granddaughter and daughters Joni and Tanice
Winston Samuels with his granddaughter and daughters Joni and Tanice

A "loving father and grandfather" who had lived in Co Antrim for more than 50 years has been murdered in a gun attack in his native Jamaica.

Winston Samuels was found dead in his car with bullet wounds to his head in the early hours of November 9.

The 71-year-old had been staying with family and friends on the Carribean island.

A popular businessman and musician on the showband scene, Mr Samuels had lived in Belfast and Antrim for decades with his locally born wife Angela and children.

Last night Mrs Samuels' son Darren said: "Winston was a loving father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by all his family.

"He was a very popular character and well-known and liked on the music scene in Antrim and Belfast.

"As a family we are trying to come to terms with this loss and would like some time to be able to grieve in private over his loss.

"Once we know the funeral arrangements we will let people know so that they can pay their respects."

Mr Samuels and his wife ran S&A Electronics at Railway Street, Antrim.

Mr Samuels had two daughters, Joni and Tanice, and was grandfather to a little girl and boy.

He also ran a bar in Jamaica - The Irish Rover - until 2011.

Mr Samuels, his wife and their family had been frequent visitors to Jamaica over the years.

He was murdered in his birthplace of Linstead, which is situated centrally on the West Indies island.

The Jamaican Observer newspaper reported the murder on Tuesday, November 12.

The online report said: "The St Ann (Andrew) police are now investigating the killing of a senior citizen who was reportedly shot dead by unknown assailants in St Ann, Monday morning.

"Seventy-nine-year-old Winston Oliver Samuels of Earl Avenue in Linstead, St Catherine, was found with gunshot wounds to the head on the Chalky Hill main road.

"Reports from the Corporate Communications Unit are that residents in the Chalky Hill area heard explosions and summoned the police."

Upon their arrival, police found Mr Samuels inside his vehicle with fatal wounds.

Newry-based charity the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust is helping Mr Samuels' family arrange to bring his remains back to Northern Ireland.

The murder brought swift condemnation from fellow Jamaicans online.

One posted: "Father God, how much more? When will our leaders see that we need a state of emergency?"

Another asked: "When will Jamaican people come out and put a stop to these killings?" Mike Jones wrote: "After living for 71 years, it is very sad to die so violently from the gun."

Sarah added: "He did leave but then came back to his home land to enjoy his retirement years. One thing can be guaranteed, the investigation will go nowhere and this crime will never be solved. Welcome to Jamaica."

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