DPP returns Anna Catherina murders file to police for further investigation

Four months have passed since the murder of businesswoman Jennifer Persaud and her two young children in their Anna Catherina, West Coast Demerara home and the police are no closer to solving this horrific crime.

A source close to the investigation told Stabroek News recently that the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) about two weeks ago returned the file to the police with instructions to conduct further investigations.

 Jennifer Persaud
Jennifer Persaud

This newspaper understands that a sloppy police investigation was done with no real attempt being made to question a man identified as being among the last at Persaud’s shop.

The woman’s reputed husband’s numerous ‘stories’ and his strange behaviour after the bodies were discovered also raised suspicions, but again police did very little to clarify these issues although he was said to be the prime suspect.

Persaud, 41, and her sons Afridi Bacchus, 6, and Jadon Persaud, 18 months, were discovered on September 22 in her bedroom, with stabs wounds and their throats slit. Persaud’s 23-year-old partner, who was the father of her youngest child, was arrested along with an uncle; however they were both released because of insufficient evidence.

Stabroek News was unable to make contact with the relatives. Persaud’s home is locked up and according to residents in the village it is up for sale. The relatives earlier on had expressed dissatisfaction about the release of the reputed husband.

A source close to the case said that Persaud and her reputed husband had ongoing domestic problems and about one week before her death she instructed him to move out from her home.

According to the source, he moved in with his uncle in a one-room shack in the area but did not take his clothing with him. He would send someone to collect clothing whenever he needed any and based on what the police were told, despite their separation, they communicated regularly via telephone.

 Jadon Persaud
Jadon Persaud

Around 1.30 am on day the bodies were discovered, Persaud during a telephone conversation with a friend had said that “Bruckhand” and his friends were drinking in the shop and would not leave. The woman related to the friend that she wanted to close up because she was sleepy. The woman operated a shop beneath her home.

The source said investigators made no attempt to ascertain at what time ‘Bruckhand’ who is a resident of the area, left.

Later that day around 11.30 am, her nephew arrived at her home to collect some chicken but found the building locked and Persaud’s vehicle parked in the yard. Based on the information collected by the police the nephew inquired from the neighbour about his aunt’s whereabouts and when they replied that they had not seen her, he returned to his home at Friendship, East Bank Demerara where he informed his grandmother (Persaud’s mother) of the situation. Persaud usually opened her business around 6.30 am every day.

The nephew and the grandmother waited until the grandfather arrived home and the trio along with the woman’s ex-husband travelled to the house. When they arrived there around 8.15 pm, the place was still locked up and in darkness.

The source said that the father became more suspicious and decided to check the perimeter of the house. When he reached the back he saw a hole in the concrete fence. The man entered the yard through it and when he went to the back door he found it open.

He did not find his daughter or the children in the bottom flat and then checked upstairs. Stabroek News was told that the netting over the woman’s bed was down and it appeared as though no one was there. As the father was leaving he noticed the woman’s foot and when he went closer his worst fears were confirmed.

Afridi Bacchus
Afridi Bacchus

The six-year-old was lying across her body with his throat slashed while the toddler was lying near her left arm on his stomach. The source said that in addition to her slashed throat, the woman had been stabbed ten times and her night dress was pulled up, a possible indication that she had been raped prior to her death.

Four bloody knives and fingerprints were recovered from the scene along with two pairs of pants and a pair of slippers with blood belonging to the reputed husband, the source said.

Suspicious behaviour

The source stated that the reputed husband’s behaviour was in itself suspicious and should have been investigated further. The man reportedly told police that he had been trying to make contact with the woman for most of the day and when that failed he passed by the house but it was locked. He claimed that he went to the woman’s friend to see if he could make contact with her parents at Friendship, EBD to ascertain if she had gone to spend the day there.

However, the source said that this made very little sense because he would have seen the woman’s vehicle parked in her yard.

Further, it was explained that after the bodies were discovered the man stood outside with others and made no attempt to rush in knowing that his child might be lying dead in the house. “It is hard to understand why he would not have gone running into the house screaming. He heard that she was found dead. Would he not have wanted to check on his child? He just stand in the crowd. All of that is strange,” the source said.

The source said that the explanations given by the reputed husband about the blood found were not logical and here again the police failed to find how it ended up on his pants and footwear.

Robbery or a crime of passion?

The source indicated that in their opinion this was not a case of robbery. It was explained that more than $40,000 was found by the woman’s bed head along with a quantity of jewellery. The source said that it could have been that persons wanted to rape her knowing that she was alone, but at some point the children woke up and were killed to silence them. It was pointed out that judging by the number of stabs inflicted this could have been a crime of passion.

The source said that while the police have not said anything about the hole in the fence, it would be reasonable to conclude that someone concealed themselves in the house and when Persaud had retired to bed opened the back door for accomplices. The accomplices would have cut the hole to enter and exit the yard unseen.

From the beginning, a police source had pointed out deficiencies in the police investigation. He had said that because of the poor evidence gathering and investigation, the killers would remain free.

Stabroek News was told recently that too much time has elapsed for the police to be able to lay charges now. Sources noted that it would take a miracle to find fresh information that could lead to a breakthrough in the case.

Police officials said that investigations are continuing into the triple homicide.

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