Who killed activist Jane Tipson, and why?
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2003:
GROS ISLET, St. Lucia– Jane Tipson, 53, cofounder of the
St. Lucia Animal Protection Society, the Eastern Caribbean Coalition
for Environmental Awareness, and the Caribbean Animal Welfare e-mail
newsgroup, was fatally shot at close range at 1:20 a.m. on September
17 just yards from the gate of her home.
Tipson “was following her 50-year-old sister Barbara” in a
separate vehicle, reported the St. Lucia Star, “after they had
been trapping stray dogs and cats along the beach. Barbara had
arrived at their house when she heard a loud noise from the driveway.”
Mistaking the noise for a tire blowout, Barbara Tipson “drove back
to find her sister slumped over the wheel [of her vehicle], dead,
the result of a wound to the neck,” the Star continued.
“This case does not appear to be a robbery,” police
commissioner Ausbert Regis said, “because the person did the act and
left. We are still trying to determine a motive but at this time it
appears that the killing was targeted.”
Nicole McDonald and Chris-tine Larbey of the Star wrote that,
“Close friends of Jane Tipson (who prefer to remain anonymous) said
she had confided in them about receiving threatening phone calls over
the past few weeks. The police were not prepared to confirm the
“Another twist,” McDonald and Larbey added, “is that two
days before Jane Tipson was fatally shot, the sisters’ Jambe DeBois
restaurant at Pigeon Island National Landmark was burgled. On the
day of Jane Tipson’s death two teenagers, 17 and 19, pleaded guilty
to stealing $1,958.75 in cash and cigarettes from the restaurant.”
The 19-year-old, upon arrival of an attorney hired by his
mother, then changed his plea to innocent and requested a separate
trial. Both suspects were released on bail.
The next afternoon, wrote McDonald and Larbey, “the
17-year-old, Jean Vascar Emmanuel, was fatally shot. He died
Friday morning. But not before reportedly naming his attacker to
police. The police are tightlipped,” McDonald and Larbey said, “on
any possible connection between the deaths of Jane Tipson and Jean
Emmanuel,” but a police source apparently told them “that the police
were in search of a 20-year-old gang member in relation to Emmanuel’s
McDonald and Larbey wrote that “Maria Grech, Tipson’s friend
for over 20 years, was trying to hold down the fort at the St. Lucia
Animal Protection Society office.
“Nothing makes sense,” Grech told them. “It can’t have been
a robbery because Jane never had much money on her. We have been in
some heated arguments in the past while trying to save animals, but
nothing that would lead to murder. There have been some raised
voices in discussions over building the [Dolphin Fantaseas] dolphinarium, but it was always civil. I doubt Jane’s death had
anything to do with SLAPS. Well, I hope not,” Grech concluded.
“She was our person on the ground in St. Lucia trying to help
us stop the dolphin captures that were scheduled for Dolphin
Fantaseas,” confirmed Dolphin Project founder Ric O’Barry, now
working for the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
“I’m somewhat suspicious,” O’Barry continued, “because this
looks like a hit. The Russian Mafia tried to kill me in Tel-Aviv,
Israel,” O’Barry recalled of a similar incident in 1993. “Lucky for
me, I passed out on a hunger strike and was hospitalized in
protective custody. My colleague Jenny May started doing interviews
for me, and she became the target. The Russians followed her down
the beach as she took her usual nightly stroll,” O’Barry alleged.
“She was found strangled with her own belt. I’m sure they really
wanted me, but I was always in the company of the army.”
No one was ever charged with the Jenny May murder.
“The Israel Broadcasting Authority is now making a movie for TV about
it,” O’Barry added.
Watson posts reward
“I was quite shocked by Jane Tipson’s death, but not as much
as I should have been, because there is so much hostility directed
at conservationists,” commented Sea Shepherd Conser-vation Society
founder Paul Watson. Watson posted a reward of $5,000 for
information leading to the conviction of her killer.
Watson had himself encounted hostility in St. Lucia.
“Watson was in St Lucia before the 2001 International Whaling
Commission meeting in London,” the Star recalled. “He was ordered
to leave after he produced a picture of butchered pilot whales in a
local fishing boat. He was accused of harassing the fishers. He
suggested that St Lucia’s pro-whaling vote at the IWC was dictated by
the Japanese in return for funding.
“Watson was not prepared to say that Jane Tipson’s death had
something to do with her work,” the Star continued. “But he added
that it would not surprise him.
SLAPS goes on
“We want the St. Lucia Animal Protection Society to
continue,” SLAPS board member Angel Isaac told McDonald and Larbey
of the Star. “Our dedicated members will get together and decide
where we go from here.”
“The Pegasus Foundation helped fund several St. Lucia
spay/neuter clinics through SLAPS partner, International Veterinary
Assistance,” wrote Pegasus Foundation communications director and
program officer Anne Ostberg. “Together with the local veterinary
and business communities, SLAPS and IVA have made great progress in
reducing St. Lucia’s stray dog and cat populations.
Both organizations have indicated that they are determined to
continue Jane Tipson’s legacy.
“Her family has requested,” Ostberg added, “that memorials
be sent to SLAPS, P.O. Box 1114, Castries, St. Lucia, West
Indies. IVA, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity, has agreed to accept
checks from U.S. donors on behalf of SLAPS c/o 1928 DuBay Drive,
Mosinee, Wisconsin 54455. Checks should be made payable to IVA,
with SLAPS noted on the memo line.”
As well as the Jambe de Bois restaurant, the Tipson sisters
owned the Snooty Agouti jazz bar in Gros Islet, and were active in
the Bahai religious community.
“Jane was from Devonshire, settling in St Lucia some 30
years ago,” recalled Eastern Caribbean Coalition for Environmental
Awareness head of operations Lesley Sutty, of Martinique.
In addition to the animal and environmental protection
organizations Jane Tipson started, Sutty recalled, “she created the
St Lucia Whale and Dolphin Watching Association and promoted the
development of the now flourishing whale watching industry in St.
The St Lucia Whale and Dolphin Watching Association in a
brief memorial saluted Tipson’s “enthusiasm and dedication to the