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‘A strong woman’

By Cecily Asson Thursday, May 15 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Gone too soon: A grieving relative sits with Alexei Mohammed, centre, son of murder victim Candice Douglas-Mohammed and another young mourner during h...
Gone too soon: A grieving relative sits with Alexei Mohammed, centre, son of murder victim Candice Douglas-Mohammed and another young mourner during h...

AN inconsolable Elijah Charles, 20, son of murder victim Sherlene “Smallie” Mahangoo-Charles, yesterday asked mourners to always remember his mother for being a strong woman who in the face of adversity always survived to fight another day.

Last Thursday night, however, Mahangoo-Charles, 37, lost a final battle. She was shot and killed at her home on Stonyhill Avenue, Tarodale, Tarouba, on the outskirts of San Fernando, by a male relative who three days before sneaked into the yard and chopped her several times. One of her two daughters, Kimberley Mahangoo, 15, who was in the house on the night of the killing, was also shot and wounded. She remains warded in serious condition at San Fernando General Hospital and was unable to attend her mother’s funeral.

Mahangoo-Charles’ seven-year-old son, Naim, escaped unharmed during the gun attack. The killer, a 35-year-old man of Macaulay, Claxton Bay, remains on the run and has reportedly been issuing death threats to her family members and a policeman. During the funeral, held at the family home, a weeping Charles said of his mother, “Let us not remember her for the reasons we are here today, but remember her as a mother, as a daughter, sister, a neighbour, a co-worker, but most of all as a strong woman.”

Charles broke down several times while reading the short tribute to his mother and had to be consoled by relatives who told him he had to complete it.

“She had a bright smile, hopeful eyes, she was my mom,” he cried.

“She was sincerely a fighter, a lover of life. She loved life because no matter what tribulations she encountered, she battled her way out of the depths of despair and survived in the hope of a new day.”

At the end of the service, before the simple white casket was removed from under the tent, Charles bent over the open coffin and wept as he stared at his mother’s face. His little brother, Naim, just looked on.

Under the watch of heavily armed uniformed and plainclothes police officers, scores of relatives and friends sat under a tent as they bade farewell to the mother of four who worked as a cook at Royal Hotel, San Fernando.

Pastor Farouk Mohammed, of the El-Bethel Community Church of the Nazarene who delivered the sermon, said he never knew Mahangoo-Charles. “I never met her as a person. I did not know about her life and how she lived it. I cannot be her judge,” Mohammed said. He said God knew her and she will account to him for her life.

Saying he received a call yesterday morning concerning reports that the killer has been issuing death threats to family members, Mohammed said he was not afraid to be present in the area.

He said, “I got a call this morning, I was told that there was a report that the fella who started this job is determined to finish it.

He asked, “You think that will deter me from doing what God wants me to do? I can’t fear man, I have to fear God.”

Speaking to Newsday on Tuesday, an uncle of the murderer revealed the man had confessed to killing Mahangoo-Charles and wounding her daughter. The man also warned of his intentions to kill her brother and a policeman who he suspected was her friend.

Police officers said they were aware of the threats and the search continues for the killer.

Following the service, the hearse was escorted by a police vehicle to the Shore of Peace, Mosquito Creek, La Romaine, for cremation.

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