Kingston Central lock-up under scrutiny again

Ten months after Orville Purnell escaped from the lock-up at Kingston Central Police Station, another detainee, Rudolph “Boxer” Shaw — who was on the St Catherine police’s most wanted list followed suit on Thursday, triggering a high-level probe and embarrassment for the constabulary.

The probe was ordered by Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson, who has tasked the Inspectorate and Professional Standards Oversight Bureau with the job to investigate the matter.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that Shaw was released from his cell to take a shower approximately 5:15 am. Around 6:30 am, the 36-year-old was missing. Checks revealed that an air vent leading to his cell had been cut and it is suspected that he escaped through that opening.

Shaw had been in custody since July 27. He was featured prominently on the St Catherine North and South police divisions’ most wanted lists.

He was captured in the Cayman Islands on July 8 and deported to Jamaica.

Shaw is accused of the murder of 59-year-old Wilfred “Straight” O’Connor and Clinton “Onie” Davis, 60, both of St John’s Road addresses in St Catherine. He was charged with two counts of murder, two counts of wounding with intent, illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, and absconding bail.

The police have issued an advisory informing the public that Shaw is a dangerous man, that haven should not be provided for him, and that it is an offence to harbour a fugitive. They further advised that anyone who comes across him should call the police immediately.

On December 1, 2021, Purnell’s escape from the Kingston Central police lock-up left the constabulary humiliated after it was alleged that he offered cops and inmates $3 million to assist him in breaking free.

A special investigation by the Jamaica Observer had revealed that Purnell — who was facing extradition to St Lucia to answer a murder charge — boasted that he would escape.

A source told the Observer that an inmate, who had been serving as a jailer, reported that the key for the cell block in which Purnell was being held had gone missing.

“The police knew that and no attempt was made to change the lock and no investigation was launched to find the missing key. But there are many people who had access to that bunch of keys, including a recently convicted inmate who served as a jailer and was given a run of the place, even setting duties for police,” the source said at the time.

He added that, “It was obvious that this man had his escape plan, but still nothing was done. The camera shows that the day before his escape he gave away all his personal belongings including clothes, shoes, toiletries, and snacks to fellow inmates. The man just pulled his cell and left the custody of the police without no one knowing who collected the $3 million that he had offered or if he paid more than that.”

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