BEATEN TO DEATH
By LAUREL V WILLIAMS Friday, August 8 2014
SHOCK and horror gripped the sleepy rural community of Agostini Settlement off-Lime Head Road, Chaguanas after the nude, hog-tied body of pensioner and father of three Balliram “Slippery” Singh was found Wednesday night inside his home. His car was missing and is believed stolen.
Singh, 72, who lived alone was last seen alive on Monday evening. Police sources said at about 8.30 pm on Wednesday, Singh’s common-law wife Wakeeda Sitaram visited his home and discovered his bloodstained body on the floor inside his house. He was hog-tied and there were multiple marks of violence about the body.
Speaking with Newsday shortly after the gruesome discovery, a visibly shaken Sitaram recalled she last saw her common-law husband alive on Monday at about 5 pm when he dropped her off at her home in Cunupia. She added that the following day, she telephoned him numerous times, but got no answer.
“I telephoned him all day and he still did not answer. I came here, opened the door which was not locked and saw this person lying on the ground on his back. The entire body was swollen. The only light on in the house was in the bathroom,” she said.
She added that a tap in the bathroom was on and water was flowing from it. “He was naked as he was born, so I pulled piece of cloth over him. I recognised him by the shoes on his feet. There was blood on the ground and I saw rope underneath the body,” Sitaram said.
The trembling woman said she never thought she would be greeted by such a gruesome sight when she entered her common-law husband’s house.
“I was in the hospital for six weeks. I wanted him to lime with me you know to keep me company. He was a very nice man...very quiet. They stole his car (a blue and black, two-door Honda Civic) and some things from the house are also missing,” Sitaram said.
On learning of the murder, scores of residents gathered on the street outside the victim’s house and spoke among themselves. Residents said this was the first murder to take place in the area in a long time. All expressed shock and horror that their elderly neighbour had met such a gruesome end.
A party of officers from Central Division led by Snr Supt Johnny Abraham and including Sgt Teesdale and Sgt John visited the scene.
The district medical officer, who arrived a short while after the police, viewed Singh’s body and ordered it be removed to the Forensic Science Centre in St James where an autopsy had been scheduled yesterday.
Police sources told Newsday the marks of violence about Singh’s face, chest and neck suggested he was beaten to death. The motive, officers added, appears to be robbery based on the fact that Singh’s car is missing and believed stolen and items from his house are also missing.
A neighbour said Singh was not a wealthy person and years ago worked as a maxi-taxi driver along the Chaguanas to Curepe taxi route.
“The killers probably thought “Slippery” had money because he planted pakchoi behind his home which he sold in the market. I know he was not a rich man. I feel they were marking him,” said a neighbour who asked not to be identified.
“We did not hear any noise to suggest he was being beaten or anything. We never had anything occur like this before in our community. We all live good with each other and something like this happening...it’s very scary,” another resident said.
Residents noted that less than six months ago, Singh’s son died abroad and his other son left to attend the funeral. “Since then ‘Slippery’ was living by himself,” said a resident. Singh’s daughter Stacy Rooplal said she last spoke with her father on Saturday. No arrest has been made and investigations are continuing.