WOMAN CHOPPED TO DEATH
By KARL E CUPID Saturday, September 8 2012
Veronie King, a 54-year-old mother of eight, was brutally attacked and killed while doing what she loved best: gardening.
King’s body, clad only in her top, and bearing chop wounds to the neck and other marks of violence, was found in her garden at Smithfield, in lower Scarborough, Tobago late Thursday afternoon.
She had been working alone in her garden since mid-morning. Her pants and underwear were found nearby. It is suspected she may have been raped.
Her sister, Margaret King, who lives nearby, made the discovery at about 5.30 pm on Thursday. Margaret became concerned when her sister did not return from the garden as planned, and she got no response when she called out to her.
It is believed the victim put up a fierce struggle with her killer. Her body was found about 15 feet from an area covered in bloodstains where she was apparently attacked and chopped.
A trail of broken peas trees led to the spot where King’s body was recovered. Police believe the victim crawled to this area in her dying moments.
Yesterday, King’s flourishing garden of peas, corn, and bananas bore silent witness to what transpired on the day she was killed.
“She just loved gardening, she had a passion for gardening,” Margaret told Newsday at her home in Smithsfield where a group of relatives and friends gathered yesterday.
Such was King’s love for gardening, she travelled from her home at Top Hill, Les Coteaux Road, Mason Hall, about seven miles away, to indulge in her cherished pastime at Smithfield, near Margaret’s home.
The last time contact was made with the victim was when she called another sister, Yvonne King, on her cellphone at about 1.30 pm.
“She called me around 1.30 pm and asked me if I coming to the garden. I told her, ‘No, the sun is too hot’,” Yvonne related. “She was always laughing, very jovial; she had no enemies that I could think of.”
King’s best friend Loyce Smith echoed the sentiment.
“I don’t know her to have any enemies; she was always laughing and making people laugh,” said Smith. “This is so unfair to the family, her friends, her children. I hope they could find the person who did this quickly so that we could bring closure.”
The victim’s two daughters were among grief-stricken relatives and friends who were finding it difficult to come to terms with the horrible tragedy.
“I can’t talk, it is too much. She is our spokesperson,” said Lydia George, one of King’s daughters, referring Newsday to her aunt Margaret.
In turn, Margaret said, “I am tired. My heart is hurting. This is no time to talk. Is only when it hit home you does know, you does feel the pain.”
She however relented and related the tragic turn of events.
Margaret said, “Yesterday (Thursday) my sister came to go to the garden as usual, she is accustomed to doing this. She came about 9 am, we chit-chat here (at the house) and she left about 11 am to go over in the garden with her brush-cutter and other things. Before she left for the garden she said she did not want to stay all day and wanted to go home (to Mason Hall) maybe about two to three o’clock,” Margaret recalled.
She said she heard the sound of the brush-cutter. A cousin later visited Margaret and they spoke for a while.
“Eventually, when my cousin left about after 4 pm, I said to myself, ‘Like Veronie change her mind with this going home.’ Anyway, I decided to eat something and then check on her over in the garden,” Margaret went on. “So I called her two cell phones but got no response. I walked over towards the garden and called out to her but also got no response.” Margaret then went into the garden and began looking around.
“I saw her bag and other stuff on the ground. I still continued calling but no response. But when I went on the opposite side I saw the body on the ground.”
Margaret said she called out frantically but got no response.
“The first thing came to my mind was probably that she had a sun stroke,” said Margaret. She then contacted another sister and asked her to call an ambulance.
“Eventually they did come, my sister and a niece also, and as we got closer to the body I realise like she is dead, and from a little over her waist right down had no clothes. She was wearing a pants. The pants was off. She was wearing a top, but the top was pulled up, so let us say from below her breasts right down, (she had) no clothes, (and was) naked,” she related.
A party of officers from the Scarborough Police Station visited the scene, accompanied by the District Medical Officer who pronounced King dead and ordered the removal of the body to the Scarborough Hospital mortuary where an autopsy was due to be performed today.
A combined police team comprised of members of the Tobago Homicide Bureau, Scarborough CID, and other officers, are continuing investigations.