UK & World News

  • 14 January 2013, 6:50

Imani Green: British Schoolgirl, 8, Shot Dead

A woman has told of the moment her young sister was gunned down and killed in a cafe in Jamaica.

Imani Green, eight, was visiting relatives on the island with her mother when she was shot in the northwestern village of Duncans, in Trelawny.

The youngster, from Balham, south London, is reported to have been shot twice, first in the head and then the shoulder. She was taken to hospital but later died. Three others were injured in the shooting.

The girl's sister, Janella Parmer, said: "We heard gunshots. We ran outside and shouted 'Imani, Imani, Imani'.

"I picked her up off the ground and realised she was still breathing. I flagged down a car and they drove us to hospital. The rest is history."

Imani's brother Dean Palmer, who is in his 20s, told Sky News he was completely devastated by the death of his sister, who he described as "an extremely brave girl".

Speaking before he left the UK for Jamaica, he said Imani suffered from sickle-cell anaemia and visits relatives there twice a year to get away from cold weather that worsens her condition.

He said the family had been in two minds about whether to take her this time but the trip went ahead.

Imani's cousin, Marco Dane, 17, who also lives in London, told Sky News: "She was a sweet, innocent girl. She always had a smile on her face."

Neighbours have described their sorrow following the girl's death.

One friend of the family, who asked not to be named, said: "This is a close-knit community, so this is going to hurt us."

Another added: "Nobody wants to speak, she was just a little girl. This is all so sad. We're distraught."

"We do not know the motive. What we can confirm is that Imani was not the target of this shooting," he said.

Imani's head teacher at Fircroft Primary School, in Tooting, said: "Imani was a happy, playful child who was popular with staff and pupils alike.

"She dealt with her illness very bravely and coped well with the special arrangements we had to have in place to support her.

"We are now in the process of contacting all the families of children in the same year group to break this terrible news to them and we will be taking steps to offer support and counselling."

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, said: "(I am) devastated to hear the news of eight-year-old schoolgirl Imani Green, a pupil at a Tooting primary school. This is terrible news."

Imani's killer is understood to have entered the premises - owned by a family member - on Friday evening and argued with another man shortly before the shooting.

Jamaica's security minister, Peter Bunting, condemned the killing.

He told the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper: "The senseless killing of a young, innocent child must outrage all well-thinking Jamaicans, and cause us to join our security forces in an intensified effort to rid our communities of criminals."

Mr Bunting said he thought the little girl might have been caught up in a lottery scam reprisal attack.

He told Channel 4 News: "The initial report that I received from the police seems to suggest that this was a reprisal attack for a shooting late last year that was related to a lottery scam."

The minister said more than 500 murders over the past five years were connected to lottery scams.

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