Family furious after grandma dies in arson attack

January 26, 2023

Relatives of an 87-year-old St Andrew woman who died in an arson attack on Monday are refuting statements from the police that one of her family members was the target.

A man who identified himself as the grandson of the deceased Hyacinth Whyte told THE STAR, "My grandmother has nothing to do with it, no family member has anything to do with it."

Head of the St Andrew North Police Division, Superintendent Sherika Service, told the news team on Monday that, "Information received is that she [Whyte] was related to the person that was the intended target, but it is stemming from an incident that occurred from last year in another parish."

But the man said that his grandmother and other relatives shared space with tenants.

"It's the same building, it's the same house. However, the house is separated, so it's whosoever on one side and my grandmother and other family members on the other side. So, it's no relation whatsoever," he added.

The grieving grandson explained the devastation that shocked his family when they learned of Whyte's demise.

"I'm upset at the fact that this is the way she had to go," he stated. "I wasn't prepared for this none at all. Nobody is prepared for an 87-year-old grandmother to go like this."

"I am expecting her to live her life fully, and at some point in time have a peaceful death because she wasn't in pain. She wasn't a sickly woman either. I saw her up to Saturday when I stopped by," he added.

According to a report from the police, the elderly woman was inside her dwelling about 9:50 a.m. when men drove up in a motor vehicle and opened gunfire at the house before setting it ablaze. Whyte was found in the rubble by police and personnel from the York Park Fire Department. Whyte's grandson said though their relative attempted to pull her from the house, she was unsuccessful and had to seek help from neighbours.

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