T&T businesswoman was sliced to pieces after kidnapping-court hears

(Trinidad Express) VINDRA NAIPAUL-COOLMAN was possibly alive when her killers took an electric saw and dismembered her body by cutting off her legs, arms, head, abdomen and chest, before placing the body parts in four garbage bags and disposing of it.

And although the Xtra Foods chief executive officer was “gruesomely murdered”, ransom demands for her safe release were still being made long after she was killed by her abductors who wanted money “that they did not work for by the sweat of their brow”.

So said senior counsel Israel Khan yesterday as the State delivered its opening statements at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain on day one of the trial into Naipaul-Coolman’s December 2006 murder.

Khan painted a grim picture of what the State is contending took place between December 19, when she was abducted from her Lange Park, Chaguanas, home, and when she was murdered at a house in La Puerta, Diego Martin, on December 28.

The attorney addressed the 12-member jury and six alternates for more than four hours before Justice Malcolm Holdip in the Second Criminal Court, as the State seeks to secure guilty verdicts against the 12 men charged with murdering Naipaul-Coolman.

In his address, Khan said: “… About nine days after her kidnapping, that was about three days after Christmas 2006, Mrs Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was sitting on a pool table in an unfinished red-brick house located on a hill at La Puerta, Diego Martin, late evening time.

“Her hands and feet were bound-up with silver-grey duct tape. Her mouth was also bound-up with duct tape. Blood was running down her left ‘foot’ according to ‘eye see’ witness Keon Gloster—and she was crying.

“Accused number eight, Lyndon James, also called ‘Iron’, armed with a nine millimetre black gun was demanding money from her. He was saying to her that ‘he was getting (expletive) fed up. Come carry we for the money.’ He was saying this in the presence of all the other accused men who are sitting in the dock.

“Mrs Vindra Naipaul-Coolman with her feet, hands and mouth all bound up with silver-grey duct tape just sat on that pool table crying, crying. Lyndon James shot Vindra Naipaul-Coolman in her chest from point-blank range with the nine millimetre black gun. She fell back on the table.

“Accused number one, Shervon Peters, also called Buffy, accused number three Marlon Trimmingham also called ‘Madman’ and a man called ‘Raphael’ put on whitish rubber gloves. It should be noted that ‘Raphael’ is not amongst the accused men today. He died in prison awaiting trial on this very matter.”

After shooting her, Khan said the men then took turns in cutting up Naipaul-Coolman’s body with the red-and-white power saw.

“They cut off her legs up to her belly. They cut off both arms from her shoulders. They cut off her head. They cut up her belly and chest. Her body parts were placed into black garbage bags for disposal.

“All this was done in the presence of all the men who now sit in the dock. The prosecution is unable to say whether Mrs Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was actually dead or alive when she was dismembered.

“What I can say on her behalf, whether she was dead or alive, the ancient scripture from the Holy Scrolls, “The Dhammapada” applied to her in the agonising conditions she was placed in due to no fault of her own,” said Khan.

As the case progresses, Khan told the jury they will be hearing testimony from several civilian State witnesses including Naipaul-Coolman’s husband Rennie Coolman, her daughter Risha Ali, and their live-in housekeeper Rasheedan Yacoob.

All three, he said, will testify what they witnessed on the night Naipaul-Coolman was snatched from the driveway of her Radix Road home.

He said Ali will testify that on that night she noticed lights approaching the driveway which indicated her mother had arrived home. Soon after, she heard a loud noise, which sounded as if Naipaul-Coolman’s car had hit an object in the yard, followed by yelling.

Ali, he said, will testify that she looked out a window to see what was going on and noticed there was a gold-coloured car slanted behind her mother’s vehicle.

He said Ali also noticed three men who were fully clothed in long clothing, but could not see any part of their skin and their faces were covered with masks that had holes along the eye areas.

One of the men was standing at the driver’s window of the car while another was standing at the back right-hand side of the vehicle and the third was walking at the back of the car.

“The man at her mother’s window was banging on the glass with a gun. He was shouting and yelling. The three men had guns in their hands. They were banging on her mother’s vehicle while the shouting was taking place.

“This went on for a while. Then she heard shots. One of her (Ali’s) sons woke up and she moved from the window to pick him up. She then looked back out the window and saw her mother standing in front of the doorway of her car and the man hit her with the gun on her cheek and her mother’s head went backwards.

“At that stage, she left her room and rushed to her mother’s room, holding on to her child to use the phone to call the police,” he said.

Upon returning to the window, Khan said the men had already left with Naipaul-Coolman, who had also been shot during the abduction.

Less than three hours after the abduction, Khan said Naipaul-Coolman’s family received a phone call with a male voice at the other end making a ransom demand.

He said the following morning, a ransom of $122,000 was paid, but the abductors kept calling and making further demands.

“Nine days after Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was kidnapped, no further ransom payments were forthcoming and thus she was eliminated, deliberately killed. She was murdered. And even after she was killed, attempts were being made by the caller for ransom payments,” said Khan.

Latest in Regional News

default placeholder

Jamaica not preparing to leave Caricom, says Holness

(Jamaica Observer) Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday launched his promised Caricom Review Commission and immediately dismissed speculation that Jamaica is preparing to pull out of the regional economic bloc.

A basket of local onions is on display beside Don McGlashan, director general in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Agriculture, in Old Harbour, St Catherine.

Jamaican farms aiming for 40% of onion market

(Jamaica Gleaner) Three years ago, Jamaica was producing just six per cent of the onions consumed locally. Now it’s meeting 10-12 per cent of demand, but that’s still around a quarter of the levels agriculture officials aim to reach.

default placeholder

‘Jamaica is T&T’s ATM’ – Mahfood slams one-way CARICOM benefits

(Jamaica Gleaner) “Jamaica has been the ATM for Trinidad and Tobago.” That’s the claim from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), which has indicated that it wants Jamaica to use the upcoming Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Summit to push forcefully for changes that will “rebalance trading relationships” in the 15-member group.

William Mahfood

‘Jamaica is T&T’s ATM’ – Mahfood slams one-way CARICOM benefits

(Jamaica Gleaner) “Jamaica has been the ATM for Trinidad and Tobago.” That’s the claim from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), which has indicated that it wants Jamaica to use the upcoming Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Summit to push forcefully for changes that will “rebalance trading relationships” in the 15-member group.

default placeholder

Trump vows to reopen, or scrap, NAFTA pact with Canada and Mexico

MONESSEN, Pennsylvania/WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump yesterday vowed to force Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the NAFTA trade agreement with the United States – or scrap it – if elected, as part of an effort to protect and restore American jobs.

default placeholder

Sweet potato experts win World Food Prize

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Four scientists who specialized in sweet potatoes were named the winners of this year’s World Food Prize yesterday for their work to make foods more nutritious.

default placeholder

Sanders back in U.S. Senate, blasts ‘colonialism’ in Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders brought his firebrand rhetoric back to the floor of the Senate yesterday to condemn a White House-backed bill on Puerto Rico’s financial crisis as “colonialism at its worst.” Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who turned an unlikely presidential bid into a political movement to combat inequality, warned that legislation due for a crucial Senate vote on Wednesday would subject Puerto Rico to Republican trickle-down economics and favor “vulture capitalists” at the expense of the island’s increasingly impoverished population.

default placeholder

Man arrested in Brazil for attempt to douse Olympic torch

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – A man has been arrested for trying to extinguish the Olympic torch by throwing a bucket of water over it as it passed through his farming town of Maracaju in central Brazil, an officer at the local police station said yesterday.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: