Relatives of murdered Good Hope woman hurt that trio freed of charges
Stabroek News – April 22, 2008
Relatives and friends of Radika Singh, who was brutally murdered in Bare Root, East Coast Demerara (ECD) last April by residents who thought she was an `Old Higue’ are deeply hurt that no one is to be punished for her death.
Three people had been charged with Singh’s murder and on Friday, Rayon Bobb, 28, a cane cutter; Aletha Roberts, 25, of Bare Root; and Ronald Spencer, a 41-year-old contractor of Haslington, walked out of the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court after Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs upheld the no-case submissions presented by their lawyers and discharged them.
Singh’s relatives said yesterday that God was the one in charge and if the trio did play a part in the crime, they would eventually be punished. Stabroek News was told that the prosecution’s star witness in the case had not been attending court.
The trio was charged on May 2, 2007, four days after the bizarre incident and since then the police were unable to find their main witness who had implicated the three in the crime.
On Aril 28 last, Singh, a resident of Lot 713, Good Hope, ECD was beaten by a group of residents in Bare Root with a manicole broom (made of fronds of the manicole palm) and left at the side of the road.
It had been claimed that a mark had been left on a child’s chest and two men had called out to Singh, as they thought she was someone they knew, but getting an answer, they were greeted with a snarling sound.
The men then called out residents. Believing that Singh was an `Old Higue’, the surrounded the woman and threw rice around her while some threw kerosene and tried to burn her.
According to local lore, an ‘Old Higue’ is an evil spirit, usually a woman, who transforms into a ball of fire and sucks the blood of people. She must remove her skin in order to perform this act. She can be stopped by grains of rice, which she is apparently forced to count and by being beaten with a manicole broom.
Singh, who had suffered a mental breakdown five years prior to her death was beaten so badly, that she countless broken bones in her body, including her face, hands and legs.
Because of her mental problems, Singh sometimes looked unkempt and would roam the streets especially in Mon Repos, several villages away. But according to relatives although she would use foul language at no time was she violent.
Singh’s sister, Bibi Putulall, who had testified during the preliminary inquiry said she has forgiven her sister’s killer(s). But added, “they get away with it. They got away from man but they can’t get away from God. He is in charge”.
She said she felt hurt that her sister did not get the justice she de served. “Her son didn’t get justice. People did horrible things to his mother. They knew what happened that day but I will leave it in the hands of God.
“I cannot cry over split milk. It happened already. It makes no sense to fight it because my sister is already in a better place.”
Putulall, who had attended most of the court proceedings, said that as far as she knew it was just she, a cousin and a policeman who testified in the case. She also expressed shock at how abruptly the PI ended.
Meanwhile, at Good Hope, several villagers expressed their shock and disagreement at how the case ended.
For Singh’s 20-year-old son Mahendra, life has been extremely difficult over the last few months. Having lost both of his parents in the space of three months, he has had to grow up abruptly and lives alone, sometimes getting help from neighbours and a few relatives.
When Stabroek News visited the area, Mahendra, who is a construction worker, was carrying out works on a house nearby.
His childish features belie the turmoil he has gone through. “I am living by myself and sometimes I feel sad and lonely.
Sometimes when I lie down I think about how they beat my mother and how she [must have been] hollering,” he said, adding that last Friday’s freeing of the three accused has hurt him.
Stabroek News that told that Mahendra’s father, 52-year-old Ram Singh fell and hit his head on the floor at home three months after his wife’s murder and he too died.
Gaitrie Ramaroop, a neighbour who is a mother figure to Mahendra, also expressed her shock at the sudden ending of the case.
The woman said she strongly believed the three accused either helped to kill Singh, on that fatal morning or knew who did.
She said that there was enough evidence to charge people over the incident but persons from the community were just not coming forward. She opined that this was probably because of the close relationship that the villagers shared.
“People wouldn’t go against their fellow villagers… They ain’t suppose to get free like that and in such a short space of time too,” Ramsaroop asking how it was that people could just kill someone or pick up a broom and beat a person because that person looked “funny”.
The woman said she felt sorry for Mahendra because he suffered a double tragedy.
She described Singh as a “nice lady”, who would use foul language whenever “she trips out” but said that at no time was she violent.
Ramsaroop also said that she could not understand why Singh went to Bare Root and not to Mon Repos as she normally did. Mon Repos is several villages east of Good Hope while Bare Root is to the west.