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Cops under fire – Chopped woman speaks out

Lucinda Gordon speaking out

By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Staff

Less than a year after she was chopped severely by her estranged boyfriend who later committed suicide, Lucinda Gordon yesterday joined other women in lamenting what is said to be the shockingly poor quality of service the British Virgin Islands police have been dishing out to victims of domestic abuse.

Another woman, Zoe McMillan, also opened up about the horrible experiences she has had with members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.

The women, who now have become activists against domestic abuse, explained their ordeals during what had been dubbed a ‘Stiletto Walk’ held on Tortola.

In relation to Gordon, she did not mention her abuser’s name. But all of her comments pointed in the direction of one person – St Vincent native Renold ‘Vince’ Leslie, who killed himself after the attack.

The woman was chopped and left for dead.

She now has one hand, nine toes, scars from multiple machete chops to the head, and a big toe for a thumb.

While stating that she sought help from the police several times before the vicious attack, Gordon indicated that the situation could have been avoided if law enforcers had treated her complaints seriously.

She recalled one of the occasions when she went to the police after an episode of abuse.

“On that day when I went to the police station, my face was bloated and they took pictures. They took me to the hospital; they didn’t take me right a way. I spent hours in the police station. I remember thinking on the many times that I went to the police station, these people don’t care about me.”

“He (the abuser) physically assaulted me. Later on, he broke into my house and they charged him with trespass. At no time did they charge him with assault; no time. So he was able to come back time and time again because no one was listening to me,” Gordon further said.

She singled out the police station on the eastern end of Tortola. “I personally feel that the East End Police Station dropped the ball. They dropped the ball on me. I’m proud to say it… They not only drop the ball but, when that ball dropped, they swept it under the rug because they didn’t see me as someone who needed help. And, if they did what they should have done, I don’t think I would be in this position today.”

“I feel like they could have done more. Sometimes I see the [same] officers and I notice they turn away from me because I know in their minds they are saying ‘I could have; I should have’. But, I am here to tell them ‘You didn’t! You had that power and the authority to do it, but you did absolutely nothing,” added Gordon.

She further stated that she sought another type of protection when she was not getting the help she needed from the police. She bought a Taser.

“Under my bed, I had a knife [and] a bat. I was ready because I realise that police weren’t there for me. So I had to do it for myself. But, unfortunately, I didn’t get to use any of those things,” Gordon added.

Zoe ridiculed

Meanwhile, the other woman who spoke out yesterday, McMillan, recalled police ridiculing her when she made a distress call a few years ago.

“The officer thought they had put me on hold; and it was a Spanish officer at the time. You could hear her making jest of my call into the police station to get assistance,” McMillan told the audience.

“This is why sometimes we have more than a one-pronged approach; and this is where the Family Support Network comes in.”

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