Five persons were yesterday remanded over the murder of Tain mother of four, Leilawatie Mohamed, also known as ‘Aunty Leila’, 45, a domestic worker of Lot 149, Sixth Street, Tain Settlement, Corentyne on February 7.
The accused, two couples and a man, were charged jointly with the capital offence of murder, and appeared in the Number 51 Magistrate Court yesterday.
Magistrate Charlyn Artiga read the charge to Oliver Permaul, 36, a barber, of Lot 100 Tain Settlement, his wife Nazima Permaul, 42, who operates a business in Rose Hall Town, Corentyne, Andre James, also known as ‘Andy’, 26, a tattoo artist of Lot 46 ‘A’ George Street, Rose Hall Town, Rohan Johnson, also known as ‘Jamakie’, 38, a Jamaican national and a carpenter of Lot 107 Second Street, Rose Hall Town, and his common law wife Shabiki Alert Thompson, 28, of the said address.
They were not required to plead to the indictable charge, and as such were remanded to prison until their next court date, May 4, at the Whim Magistrate’s Court.
Last week, two men kicked down Mohamed’s door and invaded her home. The men forced the forty-five year old woman to kneel down on her bedroom floor, and demanded cash during their efforts to stage a robbery. However, after she told the men that she did not have any money, the gunman placed his gun on the lower region of her chin and shot her dead at close range.
It was only after an investigation was launched that investigators learnt that the domestic worker’s death was not a robbery but a planned `hit’.
In the initial stages of the investigation, the barber was placed under arrest, after relatives disclosed that he would regularly issue threats to Mohamed. However, after he was questioned and did not provide any vital information, B Division’s investigators had no choice but to release him since an extension to keep him in custody was not granted. It was when they made the second arrest that they started to uncover evidence pointing towards the `hit’.
The tattoo artist was the second person taken into custody, and after receiving a statement from him, investigators then re-arrested the barber, and also placed his wife in custody. They also arrested the Jamaican national and his common law wife from Rose Hall Town, Corentyne.
Stabroek News had previously reported that Mohamed was said to have been involved with a married businessman. According to the investigation, the wife, of the businessman who owns a sawmill in Edinburgh, East Bank Berbice, found out about his extramarital affair with Mohamed, and retaliated by recruiting someone to plan Mohamed’s execution.
The tattoo artist reportedly confirmed this theory when he told investigators that he was hired by the barber and his wife. After being promised a substantial amount of money, reportedly $4M, he allegedly then made plans with his associate, the Jamaican national to launch their attack on Mohamed, a mother four.
The men hired a car and proceeded to Mohamed’s house, where they kicked down her door, entered, staged a robbery and shot her dead.
According to information gathered, the two females were placed in custody, since investigators discovered that the barber’s wife was the person who uplifted the first payment, reportedly $400,000, from the alleged mastermind and paid it to the tattoo artist, who then paid the Jamaican national his portion through his common-law wife.
The businessman who was said to have been involved with Mohamed was placed into custody for questioning. After investigators learnt that he may not have had any knowledge of the plan to execute Mohamed, he was released.
At court yesterday, the accused shouted several times that they were innocent.
Meanwhile, according to a police source, investigators are still working on locating the businessman’s wife, who is said to be the alleged mastermind. However, the source stated that the woman’s lawyer has contacted police stating that her life is being threatened and that she refuses to disclose her location to anyone as of now, but has promised to eventually turn herself in.