Brutal beating of Sheaves Cove woman sparks fear, retaliation

Published on August 28, 2009
Shelley Jesso of Sheaves Cove awaits medical attention after receiving a brutal beating while jogging Tuesday evening. Photos courtesy of Shelly Jesso

Sheaves Cove -

A battered Shelley Jesso of Sheaves Cove said she fears for her safety, her family's safety and the safety of all other women who walk in the community in which she lives.

She alleges a male resident in the community assaulted her while she was out jogging Tuesday evening.

"If he could do that to a healthy 33-year-old woman, what would he do to an older lady?

Since the incident there hasn't been a woman in this community out on the street," Jesso said.

Jesso said she was out jogging at about 7 p.m., following her usual route to Big Cove Park outside the community. She was just coming back into Sheaves Cove when a pickup with its high beams on pulled up towards her.

"I thought it was someone pulling a prank even after the front tire left the road and the vehicle almost hit me. A man jumped out of the truck and I couldn't believe it after he said some words to me then knocked me to the ground and punched me about eight times," she said.

Jesso said another vehicle then showed up and the man jumped back into his truck and took off.

"Women are really terrified when someone can do something like this in broad daylight," she said.

Jesso said she moved back to the community last year after being willed land by a relative and feels this all stems from a land dispute that is currently in the courts. She said there have been a number of incidents that have taken place but she never thought it would escalate to this.

The Bay St. George RCMP are investigating three incidents in Sheaves Cove that happened on Tuesday and Wednesday. Police said all three incidents are believed to be related.

Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Stephenville RCMP responded to a complaint of a 33-year-old female being assaulted while jogging in the community of Sheaves Cove.
A 46-year-old male was arrested at his residence in the same community. He was in court Wednesday facing charges of assault causing bodily harm, uttering death threats, and resisting arrest. The male was released from custody by the judge after he entered into an undertaking with conditions designed to protect the victim of the assault and her family.
Court records indicate the man is Robert Rowe.

While investigating the assault complaint, police received a complaint from Rowe that he had been threatened by another man from the community.

Investigation into that complaint resulted in the arrest of a 30-year-old man from Sheaves Cove. Gerard Smith according to court records, appeared in court in Stephenville Thursday on charges of uttering death threats and breaching an undertaking. He was released from custody on an undertaking.

In the third incident, police said at about 11:20 p.m. Wednesday, RCMP responded to a complaint of a shed being on fire in Sheaves Cove. The shed, which belonged to Rowe, was destroyed by the fire and the incident is being investigated as arson.

Cpl. Howard Gale of the RCMP said police believe the two incidents that followed assault were in retaliation to Jesso's beating.

"The second incident, the threat, was a response to the assault, and the burning of the barn, or shed, was in response to the assault," Gale said.

The RCMP is investigating the incidents, but Gale did say there were some developments Thursday. However, he was not able to give any details.

The RCMP are asking anyone, especially residents of Sheaves Cove, with information about these incidents to contact the Stephenville RCMP at (709) 643-2118, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.