On the 7th July 2017, we woke up to the tragic and devastating news that Janice Farman was robbed and savagely killed in front of her son. The news sent the media into a frenzy of shock, not because it was yet another execution of a Westerner in Mauritius but, because it was Janice, the well-loved and respected Scottish lady who touched everyone she met with her infectious smile and kindness. Within days of her demise, publication in the Mauritian press delved into her life and death, some of which were fallacious. Yet her family kept a dignified silence begging to know what has happened to their daughter. Indeed, her family, friends and colleagues looked on helplessly as the investigation unfolded some disturbing truth about the identity of the murderers and motive of this senseless murder.
Janice came to our island and it was love at first sight. She loved our country and its residents so much so that she proudly called Mauritius “home” and she readily embraced life as an islander. For those who knew her, it was endearing seeing the metamorphosis of a beautiful Scottish lady into a Mauritian lotus. Janice would not think twice before draping herself in a sari to attend a religious ceremony and neither did she shy away from commitments which others would shun. She became powerful in her own right as a spokesperson for the downtrodden in Mauritius. Janice would even pick up stray animals and take them, at her own expense, for treatment to the vet. She did not like to see sufferings. She befriended many local residents and took their plight as her own and fought to for them. It did not matter to Janice whether a person was rich or poor, educated or not, black or white. In her eyes, everyone was nice. In her eyes, everyone was equal. In her eyes, everyone deserved a chance. Janice was a role model, a marvellous woman who loved conviviality. She loved to entertain and her hospitality was second to none. She would entertain anyone who spoke to her and would bond over a glass of wine or her inviting and heart-felt hugs.
Janice lived amongst us as an expat for nearly fourteen years and was generous with her time and money. She was the “dream boss” to have and work with; someone who supported her subordinates and encouraged and championed Mauritian workers. She would lavish gifts to friends and colleagues without hesitation. She was always there to make people feel good and valued. Behind closed doors, Janice was a devoted mother who adopted a child, not to fill a void in her life, but to love and nurture him. She fell in love with baby Gavin and wanted to help his birth mother; help which she duly provided until her death. When Janice became a Mauritian citizen, she tried laboriously to maintain the same living standard for the sake of her child. Yet she downsized and took a humble abode in order to give priority to Gavin’s future and made choices which could maintain the life style her boy was used to.
Janice was an ardent fighter for justice. She could empathise with people and knew how to talk to them and gain their confidence. She had lobbied relentlessly for assistance to autistic children and was always at the beck and call of the under-privileged. There was nothing that Janice would not do to help but sadly when it came to her, on that fatal night, there was no one there to help her.
Janice was executed for money and took her last breath in front of her son and this tragedy will be talked about for years to come. Janice has left a legacy to our island in that she will never be forgotten. Indeed, she will always be fondly remembered as jolly Janice, a humanist, a friend and a wonderful person who was killed by people she knew and called friends.
Our thoughts and prayers are with her parents and undeniably Gavin, her beloved son. Her parents wrote an open letter to her friends and well-wishers and it is befitting to include it in this obituary.
Dear friends and colleagues of Janice,
We would like to thank all of you for the love you have shown to our daughter, Janice, during her time on your island which was cut short.
Due to serious health issues, we are both unable to travel to Mauritius and we wish to thank all our friends there for assisting us with funeral arrangements for which we are very grateful. We are confident that you will give Janice the send off which she richly deserves.
We feel humbled by the outpouring of love and support we have received from her friends. Thank you and to all those who have spoken openly and candidly about our child and putting a stop to any innuendo in the press following her murder.
To us, Janice was an outstanding daughter, a devoted mother and a fiercely loyal friend. We are sure that she will be remembered by many, both in Scotland and in Mauritius for the love and care which she extended to people and abandoned animals. These memories we will cherish forever.
To outlive our daughter is unbearable but to lose her by being murdered is earth-shattering. It was extremely hard for us to learn of Janice’s death on social media. Two weeks later, no Mauritian authority has contacted us and we are depending on the British Consul in London for confirmed information.
The shock and pain of all this will haunt us all our days. We try to cope by remembering all the good deeds she did throughout her life, the love she shared with so many and her jovial fun loving nature. Janice has left a huge void in our life.
We and Janice spoke several times about the fact that we wished to be cremated on our deaths and she always stated that she wished to be cremated as well. Never ever did we think that she would precede us. We hope and pray that her wish to be cremated is carried out with the dignity and respect which she deserves and that the urn containing her ashes is given to her beloved son Gavin, our grandson, which we know, is what she would have wanted.
Once again, we would like to thank everyone for their support and may the love that you have for Janice keep her alive in your hearts as it will for us.
Rest in peace Janice.