Friday, June 15, 2007

Whoppy King

Like aspects of our cultural past, 'Badmanship' and 'Donmanship has had its own prominent feature in our evolution. In fact, our own Port Royal once bored the tag of being the wickedest city on earth and the super pirate, Henry Morgan being dubbed one of the most vicious and ruthless in history. The last century too have produced its fair share of outlaws and fertile ground from which these outlaws perpetrated their evil acts.
The Western End of the Kingston have been home to some of the biggest criminal acts to have occurred, fueled by the high level of informal settlements to have sprang up in the area, thus creating the ideal setting for criminal elements to operate. In the late 1940s, Ivanhoe 'Rhygin' Martin created mayhem in Kingston's West End and this was followed by Aston 'Whoppy King' Jolly, both ruthless and vicious. Considered to be a psychopath , 'Whoppy King' migrated to Kingston at the age of 12 from the rural town of Lucea, Hanover where he was born in 19o8. He attended Ebeneezer School on Spanish Town Road, next to the city dump, known then as 'Dungle' or 'Dung Hill'. By age 15 he was arrested and convicted for stealing thread, and literally starting on a destructive life of crime. His indulgence in stealing, selling ganja and running gambling dens in 'Dung Hill' made him notorious and feared. He preyed on Chinese business people by demanding money and when his request was not granted, he would beat up the owners of the businesses and take whatever he wanted. In 1941 while being cautioned by a Constable Mendez, he attacked the constable with a knife, severely wounding him, and one Leonard Tracey who went to the constable's assistant. Both men spent several weeks in hospital. 'Whoppy King' was sentenced to 7 years for that crime.
On his release he started on a new crime path, this time, attacking couples who frequented lovers spots in the West End and along the Palisadoes Road. One unfortunate couple was Sidney Garel and Bernadette Hugh who were attacked by 'Whoppy King' on June 11, 1951. After brutally murdering Garel and raping and seriously wounding Hugh, 'Whoppy King' was arrested. His arrest, trial and conviction remains today, one of the biggest and most sensational court cases in Jamaica's history. Thousands gathered at the Cross Roads Police Station where he was held and even more turned up at the Supreme Court building at Justice Square, downtown Kingston for his trial and conviction. After his arrest several more charges ranging from double murder to robbery was placed upon him after strong evidence linking him to those crimes was discovered.
Subsequently he was linked to the murder of Rudolph Fellows and Rosetta Barrett who were surprised and murdered while engaged in a sexual act. 'Whoppy King' was known to taunt his victims while harming them. It was also said that he frequently administered beatings to his girlfriend Cynthia 'Ruby' Evans and often had sexual intercourse with her on top of bar tables in full view of patrons.
'Whoppy King' was eventually hanged at the Saint Catherine District Prison on Friday April 4, 1952 with almost half of Spanish Town residents gathered outside the prison walls to await the announcement of his death. 'Whoppy King' had many sympathizers , especially those who benefited from his illicit gain and Robin Hood style of life. Interestingly, his girlfriend Ruby was attacked and stabbed in her back by Joyce Maitland, a neighbour of hers living at 60 West Street. Miss Maitland accused Ruby of 'giving away 'Whoppy King', as it was said that it was Ruby who led the police to 'Whoppy King's' whereabout as well as handing over his bloody clothes, said to have been worn when he committed the act. Two years after the hanging of 'Whoppy King' his name again made the news when ghouls tried to unearth his grave in an attempt to get his skull for use in obeah/witchcraft ritual.
The story of Aston `Whoppy King' Jolly is still talked about today and is now available on DVD, with graphics and interviews with people who knew him.


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