Did Jane Tipson pay with her Life for speaking out against a Dolphin Park in St. Lucia?
Her name is rarely mentioned among the hundreds of cold cases on record. But she was a well-respected, most affable woman with a special love for animals. Jane Tipson was a conservationist, an indefatigable animal rights activist and the founder of the Saint Lucia Animal Protection Socety (SLAPS). The last thing anyone expected occurred on September 17, 2003 when her lifeless body was discovered in her car near her Monchy residence. For reasons still not established, someone had shot Jane Tipson dead as she drove home from work. She was just 53 years old. No one has ever been arrested in connection with the shooting.
Rumour linked her untimely death with her strong resistance to plans for the establishment of a dolphin park here, but that has never been proven. Following Tipson’s death, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a USbased non-profit organisation, offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Representatives of the group described Tipson’s death as “clearly a contract killing”. Its founder Captain Paul Watson said: “Because of the enemies Jane made in high places, and because of her efforts to help animals in Saint Lucia, I fear the investigation into her death will not be a priority.” He has so far proved to be correct. Meanwhile the original reward for related information stands.
Jane’s sister Barbara discovered her body. On Wednesday she told the STAR she still could not come up with a possible reason why anyone would wish to harm Jane. As for the official efforts to solve the mystery, Barbara said the last time she heard from the police was years ago, back in 2004. “They did a one-year follow-up after the murder and that was it,” she said on Wednesday. “I gave them all the information I could at the time. The whole investigation seemed very unprofessional, starting from the moment they arrived on the crime scene.”
Fifteen years later, Barbara has had no other choice but to move on. Not that she has given up all hope. She looks forward to a day when the local justice system will have improved. “You don’t ever get over something like this,” she added. “You just cope; you have no other choice. What they need to do is get a load of judges and have some extra court sittings until the huge backlog of cases is all caught up.”
Commenting on another proposed dolphin park in Saint Lucia, Barbara said: “I feel very sad. It means that all of Jane’s efforts were in vain and that she died for nothing.”
Last Saturday this newspaper reported on police plans to revisit some of the 500 or so cold cases on file. ACP for Crime and Intelligence Wayne Charlery has now confirmed to the STAR that Jane Tipson’s murder is amongst them. He said he had personally examined the case and “found it of great interest”.
Jane Tipson was a UK citizen. For close to 20 years she had made Saint Lucia her home.
Fifteen years on, the murder of animal rights activist Jane Tipson remains a mystery.