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‘I disappeared and never came back’

Now in witness protection, ex-East Side Crew member testifies in murder trial

By Gareth Finighan

A former gang member has told how murder accused Rickai Dickinson “had a different aura about him” in the days following the shooting death of George Lynch.

Mr Lynch, 40, was gunned down while socialising with friends in a neighbour's yard on Midland Heights Crescent, Hamilton Parish on the evening of May 5, 2010.

Mr Dickinson, 29, and co-accused Wolda Gardner, 34, deny committing premeditated murder and a second charge of using a firearm to carry out the offence.

Giving evidence at the trial of the two men yesterday, the former member of the East Side Crew (ESC) — who cannot be identified for his own protection — explained that he and Mr Dickinson were both employed by the Corporation of St George's at the time of the murder.

Questioned by prosecutor Carrington Mahoney, the witness said that he arrived at work on the morning following the shooting and saw a headline in that day's Royal Gazette relating to the murder.

The witness claimed that Mr Dickinson arrived at work a few minutes later, picked up the newspaper and, referring to the article declared: “Whoever had this gun must have a lot of power.”

“He seemed different to me — there was more of a boastful aura about him from the day before,” the witness said.

“Everything about him seemed so much more different, like a bright light going on. Something happened within him that made him feel better.”

The witness claimed that, later that day, Mr Dickinson posted a message on his Blackberry phone which read: “Paid my dues, front page news.”

“My understanding was that he had done something significant to show his loyalty to the East Side Crew,” the witness said.

Mr Lynch was in the yard of a home owned by Philmore Phinn when he was gunned down.

Mr Phinn had earlier been called as a prosecution witness in the trial of six St George's men charged with beating up Temasgan Furbert in 2009.

Asked if the gang had access to any weapons, the witness said that he had heard rumours of a firearm, but was never sure if those rumours were true.

He added that guns were referred to as “dogs”, telling the court: “I guess that's a reference to man's best friend.”

The witness explained that he had contacted police in order to give evidence in another matter before Mr Lynch was murdered.

Shortly after the killing, he was travelling in a work truck with Mr Dickinson when a detective contacted him on his cell phone — and Mr Dickinson picked up the call.

“I was sitting in the front passenger seat and he [Dickinson] answered the phone,” the witness said.

“He then passed it to me and it was a detective saying that he wanted to speak to me. I answered but I didn't know what had been said between the caller and him [Dickinson] before.

“After that, I looked at him [Dickinson] and it didn't seem the same. I was completely scared.”

The witness said that, later that day he met up with ESC associates who made comments about members giving evidence against gang colleagues.

“There was a lot of assumptions going on, a lot of finger-pointing,” the witness said.

“I took that as my cue, disappeared and never came back. Nobody likes a snitch. As you can see from the front page, their house would get shot up.”

Questioned by defence attorney Charles Richardson, who is representing Mr Gardner in the trial, the witness said the East Side Crew was split into various factions who “sat off” in different parts of St George's, and that each faction had their own “philosophies”.

And when cross-examined by Craig Attridge for Mr Dickinson, the witness said he did not give statements to police until more than two years after the shooting when his memory was “running on fumes”.

The trial continues today before Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves.

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Published June 24, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated June 24, 2014 at 11:01 am)

‘I disappeared and never came back’

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