Did Jane Tip­son pay with her Life for speaking out against a Dol­phin Park in St. Lu­cia?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - Joshua St. Aimee

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.

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