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'Life is not the same'

Murder victim George Lynch

The father of gun victim George Lynch has spoken of his anguish that his son’s murder remains unsolved this Christmas.Mr Lynch, 40, was shot dead on May 5 outside a Hamilton Parish home that was the subject of a trial involving an earlier mob attack there.Police said the Jamaican-born father-of-three was an innocent victim with no links to the gang underworld.His father, Leonard Lynch, 71, described him as a bystander who found himself alone and vulnerable when two masked men opened fire.Eight months later, the killers are still at large, and police admit they have struggled to gain information in the investigation [see separate story].“Life is not the same, it has really upset our whole family and the worst part of the whole thing is his young family. His three young children have been left without a father,” said Mr Lynch Sr, from Branton, Ontario.George Lynch left behind two daughters, the eldest just five years old. His Bermudian wife Nekesha Holdipp was pregnant with their third daughter when he was murdered.The baby, Itana, was born four months ago. Mr Lynch Sr met her recently when Ms Holdipp visited Canada, and it was a bittersweet moment.“From a standpoint of getting to know her and see her and to be able to hold her and feel her that was really great.“The whole family enjoyed that but [not] the fact that George is not around to look after the kids,” he said.“His whole intention was to grow these kids up just the way he was grown up and he was planning so he would be able to take care of his family, fight for them and love them, and all of that is down the drain. It’s just unbearable.”Mr Lynch went to a house in Midland Heights, Hamilton Parish, on the night of his death to visit his Jamaican friend Philmore Phinn.Mr Phinn had given evidence two days before in the trial of several men accused of a brutal attack on his brother-in-law Temasgan Furbert at the same premises in February 2009.At 7.30pm on the day of the murder, a Supreme Court jury found three men guilty of participating in that attack. A judge remanded them into custody.Three hours later, two masked men arrived on a motorcycle at Midland Heights and shot Mr Lynch once in the chest.According to Mr Lynch Sr, Mr Phinn and a neighbour became suspicious when the two men rode up and stopped a distance away from the house.They went into their homes to fetch baseball bats, leaving his son outside alone.“They sort of expected something would have happened I guess. They didn’t expect shooting George. He’s an innocent bystander,” said Mr Lynch Sr.“I guess he didn’t see any reason to go hide, because he had no quarrel with these gentlemen. So after the other two guys left, George was by himself. I guess they rode up and the outcome was he was shot.”Two men found not guilty in the mob trial were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder, but later released without charge.Mr Lynch was the fourth man shot dead this year, and three more have lost their lives since then.“I guess they haven’t made too much headway in this case up to this point and it’s really hard to take,” said Mr Lynch Sr.“But we understand that there are many other cases in limbo the same as our son’s death. So we don’t know whether it’s inept police work or just hard to solve these cases or whether the crooks are too smart, we don’t know. I would hope that the police are smarter.”Mr Lynch Jr, who has two sisters and five brothers, grew up in Jamaica. After he moved to Canada, he attended St John’s College in Branton and York University in Toronto, where he met his wife.After university, he worked for the federal government, helping new immigrants settle in the country.When he moved to Bermuda in 2009, he got a job in housekeeping services at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, and continued work towards an MBA through York University.This Christmas, the first since his death, is set to be a bleak one for those he left behind.“Ever since this happened he’s always been in our minds. He’s dearly missed by our family in Canada, by his family in Bermuda and his friends in Canada and Jamaica,” said Mr Lynch Sr.“He was a people person. He loved people and people loved him too.”Mr Lynch’s widow is off the Island this Christmas, and was unavailable for comment.