The bound body of a 57-year-old woman was early yesterday morning pulled from the charred ruins of her Sophia home. One of her children says that her throat was also slit but a police release yesterday did not confirm this.
Dead is Jacqueline George, a newspaper vendor of 120 ‘E’ Field Sophia. Her reputed husband has not been found by police. He was reportedly seen leaving the home just before the blaze. Several times before, he had threatened to kill George, relatives said.
Police said in a statement that at about 2:50 am yesterday, a fire of undetermined origin destroyed the wooden home of George, who also perished in the fire. “Initial investigations revealed that neighbours saw the building ablaze and raised an alarm which led to units from the Guyana Fire Service responding and extinguishing the fire”, the police said. George’s body was subsequently found among the debris. Police investigations continue.
George and the man lived together for over three years and fought at times, relatives said. On one occasion, George was cut and required stitches but she asked that the matter be dropped. Relatives believe she was killed because she wanted to take the man’s name off the lot’s transport and wanted to sell her stall at Stabroek Market, where she sold newspapers for over 30 years.
Shortly before 3 am yesterday, neighbours woke after hearing “crackling”. They saw George’s home on fire and called the Fire Service and George’s daughter, Sharon, who lives a few houses away. She rushed over and as fire consumed the small wooden building, she frantically called her mother’s phone but received no answer. She also called the man’s phone and was connected to his voicemail. As the building burned, residents said that someone was inside. “I seh ow God, I hope is not mi mother”, Sharon recalled. She rushed to the Stabroek Market hoping her mother was there. George was there earlier Saturday night but had left, a vendor told her.
The remains of Jacqueline George’s home at ‘E’ Field, Sophia.
Nothing was saved from the building. Sharon told this newspaper that her mother’s body was found on her bed. She said her throat was slit and her hands were tied behind her back. The house was built on small blocks and Sharon said that hours after the fire, relatives observed blood on the ground, under the spot where the bed was located.
The woman said she last saw her mother at 3 pm on Saturday when George carried her (Sharon’s) daughter to her at her workplace. She recalled that earlier that day, George had said that she was going to take a drink at the Stabroek Market because she wasn’t working that day. It was not clear when George returned home.
Neighbours, whom this newspaper spoke with, said they heard no sounds of fighting on Saturday night. One woman said that she had seen when George left the home on Saturday afternoon with her two grandchildren. She said that the reputed husband returned home early that evening. Asked if she had ever heard the couple fighting, she said that there were periodic rows. “She was a very private person. She never really used to get in any problems with nobody”, said the woman about George.
Sharon said that the couple at times fought. “The last time he burst she head and I gone to the police but she seh she ain’t want no police story”, she recalled. This occurred last year. Before then, Sharon said, her mother and the man “used to get one or two quarrel”.
The man was upset when he visited George’s son, Kenneth George on Friday. Kenneth lives some distance away in Sophia. “He come here Friday. All he seh, leh she take he name off the transport. Who name she gon put’”, he recounted. George had also planned to sell her stall at the Stabroek Market. She sey she woulda sell the stand and keep the money foh bury she and like he din like that”, Sharon said.
Kenneth said that he learnt that his mother’s house was burning when Sharon called him. Shortly after, he received another call and was told that a body was inside the building. When he arrived, he saw that it was his mother. Her hands were tied behind her back, he said. “I know my mother had to die but not in that way”, the deeply upset man said. He said that he could not say whether her throat was slit as the body was too charred.
Relatives said that the reputed husband was unemployed and when his wife was at work, he gambled at the market. George had inherited the stall from her mother over 30 years ago. She is survived by three children.
Several women have been killed this year in similar incidents. On January 10 the bloodied body of trainee teacher, Luciana Bhagwandin, was found on a dam at Harlem, West Coast Demerara. The body had multiple stab wounds and days later the police issued a wanted bulletin for Jerry Jhagroo, a boyfriend who drives a black car.
Sunita August, a mother of three, became the year’s first domestic related killing after she was apparently beaten to death by her husband before her body was dumped in a koker at Nismes, West Bank Demerara on January 13. Ramesh Muniram has since been charged with the murder.
Nalini Bhoje was stabbed and chopped to death in her Skeldon home on January 25. The perpetrators left a quantity of jewellery behind but took a pouch containing documents. The woman was found by her husband who had left her home alone to drop off their two daughters at a school in the area. A bloodstained cutlass and an ice pick were recovered in the house.
On March 1, Okema Todd, a 20-year-old mother of two, scaled fences and ran with blood gushing from numerous knife wounds about her body, to a security guard at Ketley Primary School, begging to be saved. Her partner was subsequently arrested and charged with her murder.
On March 4, Usawatie Persaud, 47, was found dead on a bed in an Eping Avenue apartment, next to Cuban Physiotherapist, Dr Guillermo Martinez, who was also dead. The woman’s body bore several knife wounds and police have said that in the absence of evidence to the contrary, they were treating the case as one of murder/suicide
On March 9, the body of 42-year-old Jairool ‘Chico’ Rohoman was found floating in a canal at Betsy Ground, Canje. Her hair had been shaved off and used to tie her feet. Her hands and feet were also bound together with a canvas sling, which was then strapped around her waist.
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