Bath woman’s house torched for second time by ex-husband 

A 42-year-old woman of Bath Experiment Scheme, West Coast Berbice is living in fear after she said that her former reputed husband burnt her house for the second time in five years and threatened to kill her.

Seeta Persaud told Stabroek News that the man threw gasoline on the house and set it alight on May 28, following threats he had made. Police are on the hunt for the man who managed to elude capture a few times.

The first time he burnt the woman’s house was on November 11, 2009. He had physically abused her and the court had asked him to leave the home.

After that fire she got help to rebuild her home. She and the man thereafter reconciled and he moved in back with her. On October 18, 2010 she sent him to pick up a 10-year-old female relative from school and he reportedly sexually molested her. He has been committed to stand trial in the High Court over this matter.

She said that he took the child to a busy area and as she struggled and scream-ed he reportedly scratched her face and choked her neck.

Some boys who were tending their sheep saw the man taking the girl among the bushes and then heard her screaming. They ran to the scene and the man escaped. Since then the girl has been in the custody of the Child Care and Protection Agency.

After the preliminary inquiry, the man was committed to stand trial at the High Court. He has been released on $470,000 bail. Since then, Persaud said he has been pressuring her to settle the matter but she has ignored him. He then started to threaten her again.


Vacant house

Seeta Persaud standing amid the remains of her house
Seeta Persaud standing amid the remains of her house

At the time of the fire the house was vacant. She recalled that on May 24 they were still living there when the man came with gasoline and threatened to burn the house down.

Afraid of his threats, she was forced to move out with her current partner and stay at his parents’ home but the man still did not leave her alone.

Two days later he barged into the house and threatened to chop her. Persaud screamed and ran into the bedroom and locked the door and the man attempted to climb over the wall.

At that stage she took the opportunity to escape to the neighbours’ house and called the police.

Her partner tried to wrest the cutlass away from him but the man overpowered him and escaped. Fearing for her life again, she then moved to her parents’ home at Bath Settlement.

On May 28 he entered that yard with a cutlass and disconnected the phone line. Persaud’s brother returned home and caught him in the yard and chased him out.

They ended up in an argument and before escaping he “broadsided him with the cutlass” and again told Persaud that he was going to burn her house down.

Half an hour later, she heard the sound of the fire tender and her brother went to check on her home and confirmed that the man had carried out his threat.

Neighbours could not inform her about the fire because of disconnected phone line. They contacted the fire service at Onverwagt.

The man reportedly lobbed a bucket with gasoline at the building and set it alight. His bicycle was still left close to the scene and angry residents tossed it into the fire.

Her mother, Pulmattie ‘Veera’ Etwaroo told this newspaper that before they heard the siren, the man called on her cell phone. “He tell me he done burn she house and he gon burn me own next.”

She too is very scared as many nights they would see him lurking around her home and whenever they called the police he would beat a hasty retreat.

One night he was in her yard and when the police arrived he ran to the back and used his cutlass to cut open a part of the high zinc fence and escaped. The police ran after him through the same opening but he quickly disappeared.


Rude awakening

The alleged arsonist’s bicycle among the ruins
The alleged arsonist’s bicycle among the ruins

In the 2009 fire, Persaud recalled, she and her children were asleep when they were awakened by a crackling sound like the louvre window being opened and noticed fire in the bedroom.

They started to scream and were about to escape when the man threatened to “kill we if we only come out.” They initially remained in the house out of fear.

She also made calls to relatives who contacted the fire service at Onverwagt as well as the one at Blairmont Sugar Estate. When the heat became unbearable she and the children exited the house just before it was completely engulfed.

The fire tenders arrived within a short time but the building was already burnt. She recalled that five weeks before the incident the man had knocked out three of her front teeth with a hammer.

He was locked up for three days and then placed on $40,000 bail. The man was asked to leave her house so she could be in peace.

However, he started renting a house behind where she lives and continued to beg her to settle the matter but she refused.

They attended court on the day of the fire for the assault charge and were given a date in the following month to return. She travelled in the same minibus with the man after court but he said nothing to her then.

He went straight to the shop and purchased a bottle of rum and “when it get dark he come in front the house and threaten fuh burn down the house and chop up me and the children and kill we.”


Live in peace

Meanwhile, Persaud said all she wants is to be able to live in peace. After the recent fire, he put persons to contact her to “settle the matter” but she is not willing to do that.

She wants him to face the consequences of his actions especially since he keeps repeating them.

The woman said they have both moved on and pleaded with him to leave her alone and turn himself in to the police.

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