Australian Tourist Stabbed to Death in Montego Bay Jamaica


Brian Johnston, 27, of Melbourne, Australia was found stabbed to death and room ransacked at The Gloustershire Hotel on the ‘Hip Strip’ in Montego Bay.

Montego Bay is Jamaica’s second largest city, behind Kingston, and is the island’s most popular destination for international tourists. Jamaica is renowned for its beaches and nightlife, but crime is a problem.

Johnston is the second foreigner to be killed in the area in less than a month, after a pregnant Swedish woman was found mutilated in a neighbouring parish on July 20.
The United States government warns its citizens to be vigilant when visiting the island because “crime, including violent crime, is a serious problem in Jamaica”.(The Australian News)

Here is a different slant on the crime issue in Jamaica courtesy of those in the  tourism industry.

Sales manager at The Gloustershire, Mrs. Valrie Lawrence, said: “It is a police matter, which is under investigations and we are not able to comment at this time.”
Reacting to the incident, Opposition Spokesman on Tourism, Ed Bartlett, noted that Jamaica had maintained an impeccable record in terms of tourist safety, adding that statistics show that crimes against tourist was negligible. “It means, therefore, that these incidents are few and far and should never be construed that tourists are unsafe in Jamaica.”

(The Jamaica Gleaner)

UPDATE: Prostitute held over Aussie tourist’s death

A prostitute has been arrested in connection with the savage murder and robbery of Australian tourist Bryan Johnston in the tropical Caribbean nation of Jamaica.
Officers from Jamaica’s Criminal Investigation Branch, following “strong leads”, picked the prostitute up on Tuesday morning.
She has not yet been charged.
“The investigation is ongoing,” a Jamaican police spokesman told AAP.
“If someone is charged, we will let you know.” Jamaican police had been searching for a mystery woman who was last seen with Johnston entering his hotel room at Montego Bay’s Gloucestershire Hotel on Thursday night.
Authorities believe that there were two individuals involved in the crime.
Police sources said they believed a woman, planning to rob Johnston, may have enticed him back to the hotel room for marijuana and sex. A male accomplice was also likely involved, police said, because a large boot print was left on Johnston’s bed.
Posted August 14, 2006 by
Crime, Travel | 11 comments

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  • Comments

    11 Responses to “Australian Tourist Stabbed to Death in Montego Bay Jamaica”

    1. Sharyn Johnston on January 1st, 2007 11:39 am

      The pig who murdered my brother has been arrested and charged with Brys murder, but we can only wait and see how the justice system works over there.

    2. tracy woolridge on June 19th, 2007 5:34 am

      i,m sorry to hear about your brother sharyn johnston i,m planning to go jamican in july to a wedding im haveing second thougths myself its sad when you have to fear about your saftey when on vacation its sad boo.if crime keeps on gettig worse jamican will hurt in the long run with tourist i know people want to feel safe when on vacation. sorry for your lost boo

    3. kenneth williams on July 24th, 2007 12:02 pm

      This is ridiculous. There is more and more violent crime increasing in Jamaica. We need to stick together and get Jamaica to realize that if they don’t change there ways, the tourist are going to stop. I would like to share our story from June 13th 2007:

      Kenneth Williams
      Dickinson, TX

      On June 10, 2007, my wife, 12-year old son, 10-year old daughter, and I set sail on the Carnival Conquest from Galveston, Texas. Being that this was our first cruise, we were looking forward to spending some quality time together as a family. The first stop was Jamaica, when we opted for a Carnival excursion, “Lethe Village Tour”. We selected this tour to show the kids traditional Jamaican culture. We had no idea how this decision would change our lives forever.

      I am a 17-year police veteran. Before my current profession, I proudly served in the U.S. Army. Safety and protection is my number one goal with anyone, especially with my wife and children. With this in mind, I attended the excursion meeting that was held on the ship by the Cruise Director, Mr. Price.

      During that excursion meeting, the Director’s words were… “In order to see the true Jamaica, you have to take a Carnival Shore Excursion.” He added, “The Carnival Shore Excursions are guaranteed safe.” He explained that in the port city, we may encounter some undesirables, attempting to sell marijuana or pressuring us to take their cab. He explained that the Red-Tag cabs were the only registered cabs. He continued to persuade us to take a Carnival Excursion. There were no other warnings mentioned, other than the marijuana and high pressure taxi-sell. After the meeting, I was confident in my decision to take the Carnival Excursion, because of the “guaranteed” safety.

      We arrived in Montego Bay on June 13th, where my family and I boarded the excursion bus, along with 13 other passengers. Two of the passengers were my father and step-mother. My father, who is 67 years old, has had two major heart attacks with the last one in July of 2006. This was the perfect relaxing excursion for him.

      We drove approximately 30-40 minutes into the country of Lethe, Hanover. Along the way, we observed extreme poverty. The people looked at us as though they were angry with us for some reason.

      We arrived at the plantation and we learned a few things about bananas and coconuts. Then, we boarded a green and yellow trolley, connected to an old John Deer tractor. The excursion tour guide had turned us over to an elderly Jamaican plantation worker, Dalton, who pulled the trolley further into the plantation, surrounded by lush, thick jungle vegetation. I was relaxed and felt secure, as my family and I observed the flowers and tropical plants. Dalton had given a presentation on the banana plant and was pulling us through the plantation, towards a botanical garden to view some flowers and listen to a kindergarten class sing to us.

      As we traveled further through the plantation, we approached a side-road to our right that was also surrounded with vegetation. It was here that our world came crashing down… Two men ambushed our trolley, approaching with guns and a knife. They immediately took control of our lives, pointing a pistol at the driver and ordering him to stop. Visibly shaken, Dalton exited and pleaded for the men not to hurt anyone.

      The two gunmen began yelling, “F_ _king foreigners. Give us your f_ _king money, man. Don’t f_ _k with us, man. We’re f_ _king crazy.” They approached on opposite sides and were either madmen or on some form of drug. My two children were sitting behind my wife and me, next to my stepmother and my father.

      One of the gunmen placed an 8″ revolver in my 10-year-old daughter’s face. My daughter was crying and pleading with the gunman not to kill her. I have never felt so helpless in my life! I still get physically sick thinking about this. As visions of my daughter’s life passed before my eyes, all I could think of was how badly I wanted her in my arms. The gunman kept the gun in her face, as he stole her disposable camera and all the belongings of the other passengers.

      These gunmen were jerking passengers around, as they removed the valuables. One gunman took his knife and cut a camera strap from around the neck of one of the passenger. There was no doubt that these guys were violent and on the verge of hurting one of us. They continuously called us “F_ _ king foreigners” and it appeared as though they were angry about us being there. Once they had stolen everything, both gunmen disappeared back into the jungle, leaving my family and all the other victims visibly shaken, violated, and terrified.

      The driver brought us back to the starting point of the plantation, where we exited the trolley and told other tourists of our nightmare. They all loaded back onto their buses, and were taken back to the Carnival Conquest, leaving us at the plantation still in fear and shock.

      The other plantation workers were upset about us being robbed and grabbed their machetes and some sharpened cane poles. They wanted to go back to the robbery site to search for the gunmen. I had never seen the sharpened cane poles, but later, I figured that they knew it was dangerous around there or they never would have had the weapons. As a police officer, it was easy to tell that these guys must have known this area was dangerous and they needed these weapons on-hand for protection. Carnival should have known, as it was a Carnival Excursion.

      Approximately 20-minutes later, the Jamaican police arrived. One officer took shorts statements from all of us; however, I wrote out a statement for him. He kept saying that more officers were supposed to come and help with statements. They never showed, but I believe all available officers were out searching for the robbers. The officer told me that they were notifying the local villages to look out for the suspects. I did find out that the owner of the Lethe Village Tour Plantation was running for the Ministry of Tourism.

      After approximately 3 ½ -hours, we were transported back to the Carnival Conquest, where some of the crew shuffled us back onto the ship and into a debriefing room.

      After the debriefing, we were released back to the cruise. We began hearing from Carnival employees, regarding their knowledge of how dangerous Jamaica can be, and their reason for not leaving the ship. Every crewmember to whom I spoke stated that they do not leave the ship, because they fear for their safety; yet, Carnival allowed us and other passengers to leave the ship, guaranteeing our safety?

      The next day, I was told that the two gunmen tried to exit the jungle approximately 2 miles from the plantation around 10:00PM, where they encountered the Jamaican Police and tried to shoot their way out. One gunman was shot and killed and the second one got away.

      Carnival brought a Crisis Intervention Therapist onboard, who met with us. She remained on the ship, all the way back to Galveston, Texas. At the end of the cruise, she recommended that our family seek further counseling, in order to deal with this traumatic event. My wife and I agreed. A letter was also delivered to our cabin from the CEO of Carnival, apologizing for the incident. It also stated that Guest Relation Supervisor, Dorothy Georges, would be standing-by for our phone call on Monday morning, June 18th. When I called on Monday to inquire about the additional counseling, Ms. Georges was not available. I left a message.

      When Ms. Georges returned my call, I expressed my concerns and asked how we would go about having Carnival pay for our counseling. She stated that she could not confirm whether or not Carnival would pay for the counseling, and would not have an answer on this for a few days. This infuriated me even more, thinking that if it had been THEIR 10-year old girl, who had a gun shoved in her face and forced to plead for her life, they would have immediately said, “Yes” to my counseling request. At this point Carnival began handling this incident as ‘strictly business’. There was no compassion whatsoever!

      My wife continues to shake at times, so much that she has been unable to return to work. My son claims that he sometimes sees one of the gunmen in our house. My daughter has broken out in hives. I, for one, get so angry and upset that I physically shake and then cry. I go back and forth. I am nauseated just writing this story. We all have nightmares in relation to this incident. It is ridiculous and totally neglectful on the part of Carnival that we were not given the true facts and information about Jamaica. I would never have subjected my family to this if I had received this valid information, in advance, and I will now live with that decision forever.

      I wish to strongly encourage anyone, who is considering traveling to Jamaica, to STOP! It is not worth the risk. They prey on the tourists, knowing that they carry money and other valuables. Unfortunately, the local citizens earn approximately $50-$100 dollars a week. The two gunmen, who robbed us, escaped with approximately two to three thousand dollars. This is the equivalent to someone robbing a bank in the USA. This will only continue. They have no choice. The poverty is too bad.

      I am hoping to get this information out to the public and caution all tourists, who are contemplating a cruise or trip to Jamaica. It’s not safe! I want to warn you, because Carnival will not.

    4. Simone on August 4th, 2008 5:07 pm

      You cannot warn everyone to stop visiting Jamaica because you had a bad-traumatic experience. It is true that it is a very violent place because of the prevalence of guns in the country. Most tourist do enjoy themselves and usually have a very safe time in Jamaica. Next time use a little bit of precaution: never take expensive cameras and jeweleries on vacation, never walk with too much money or anything of valuable when you visit poor countries.

    5. Simone on August 4th, 2008 5:15 pm

      To Sharyn Johnston: I am happy that law enforcement found the persons envolved with killing your brother who was visiting from Astralia. I can assure you that the justice system will not be easy on him if he is found guilty. Jamaicans does not like when tourists are murdered while visiting the country. Most Jamaicans usually respect tourists. I am so sorry for the death of your brother. It is so sad to go on vacation and not being able to come home alive because some evil people decided to end your life for materialistic gains.

    6. Natasha Dixon on August 14th, 2008 5:06 am

      I am the cousin of Bryan Johnston who unfortunatley did go on holiday to Jamaica. I feel pain for my family all the time,(Bryan’s dad Peter, his two sisters, Sharyn and Sue, brother Peter, who thought the world of him. The absolute unthinkable happened to an innocent placid young-man. I have children myself, now I am a changed person when I think of their safety. You cannot stop your children from living their dreams. So when you are with your kids, have a conversation with them, let them know you are REALLY there and love them!

    7. Matt on February 11th, 2010 12:25 am

      I stayed at the Glostershire hotel, Montegobay around 10 years ago while traveling with my father. I was told to stick to the main street and you will be fine. I was mugged at knife point and robbed of a few hundred dollars (on the main st and only a few hundred meters from a uniformed police officer (who did NOTHING). It ruined my trip and has permanently harmed my impression of that country and their “Be all right” commercials. If I won a free trip there I would not go.
      Worth noting that Pat Cash (Aussie tennis fame) was also mugged while staying there shortly after my trip. Everyone I have spoken with has had similar encounters.
      Jamaca shows up as the number 1 MUGGING destination in a web search.
      It is a very ugly country and I would recommend checking out other countries like the BVI, USVI, Porto Rico.
      Skip Jamaica – it wont be alright.

    8. Sharyn Johnston on December 6th, 2010 12:14 pm

      My brother Bryan was murdered in his hotel room in jamaica on the 11th August 2006. His murderer was caught in jan 07 and has been in prison since but not yet found guilty as the court case is constantly being delayed, it has been to court and it apparently was a hung jury,(such a joke) so its a mistrial. We have been informed of all the evidence and dna they had,it was a sure thing. It is apparent to me that this animal is high up in the criminal world because it appears no one wants to cross him (police included). It is now 4 years and 4 months that my family have been waiting for some sort of result. The Australian Government has not shown any interest in this case or us. The case was due to be heard in nov just gone and once again has been put off until jan 2011, then when, i don’t know? The hardest part for me is, apart from you guys that have replied to my original message is that nobody gives a shit and we are helpless in every way because we have been given no support from our own country to try help us put an end to this so we can move on from that part of our loss. To those of you above whom have had frightening experiences, i’m so sad for you because you have to live with that, i am glad you all got home though. If anyone can tell us how to get help, please do. From a very sad girl who misses her baby brother. I love you Bry.xxxxxx

    9. Katie Smith (Rogers) on January 19th, 2011 12:21 am

      Sharon I can’t believe it has been this long and still you are waiting for the justice Brys deserves. I often think of you all, especially your Dad and how you must struggle to go on without him. I hope that you will get the outcome we all pray for very soon. Love to all the family. xx

    10. Janet Sharp on March 22nd, 2011 10:25 am

      This might help you. It seems there is no Australian Embassy in Jamaica which is unfortunate but this website does list two other embassies that should look into this matter.

      I stayed in this very hotel in 2007 and 2008 during March. The 1st year, it was filled with Spring Break students and we were required to wear blue wrist bands for protection. I’m old (59) so no one bothered me in the least. The second year, I asked about the wrist bands and they (the hotel) said it wasn’t their policy anymore. I was trying to send some clothing to one of maids of that hotel in 2009 and I telephoned VisitJamaica. I talked with a woman that I continue to correspond with that works there. She told me that the hotel closed in December, 2008 and has never opened again. I sent the clothes and shoes to her for her daughter, at that point and continued to do so, last year, because of the poverty level. I don’t believe the hotel is open today, but I will contact her. I had a balcony room on both of my visits and watched from above, every night. The prostiutes stood outside of the hotel across the street from Doctor Cave’s Beach, along with plenty of drug dealers. They were present all night long until 5 AM when the leftovers were the only ones left and the street cleaners came out to clean up the mess from the night before. I saw one police car, on the two trips, total, and I even ventured into the city of Montego Bay. I used a referenced cab driver from the front desk who literally escorted me through the city to a camera shop and back to his cab. I used this same cab driver for trips back and forth, on both trips, to the airport. He might know something, as he and plenty of others are regulars that stand in front of Doctor Cave Beach, day and night, waiting for fares. I believe his name is Morris. There are regular residents in front of the G.H. every single day. They had to have seen something. I hope this helps with your investigation. My prayers are with your family.

      Janet K. Sharp
      Pella, IA

    11. Will Iopu on July 19th, 2011 10:29 pm

      5 years since you’ve been gone mate.
      Will never forget all the good times we had at SMXL

      R.I.P my friend

      Love all the kids at SMXL Melbourne, Australia

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