Years of physical abuse and threats yesterday ended tragically for a 34-year-old woman when she was stabbed to death by her former reputed husband, minutes after she left her home for work. Up to press time, the man was still to be apprehended.
Dead is Savitrie Arjune of Lot 382 Herstelling, East Bank Demerara, a mother of two and an employee of Roti Plus.
In December last year, the woman had made a firm decision not to return to the home that she had been sharing with the man for the last four to five years, located obliquely opposite her present address.
However, this was met with threats to her life and her children’s. Several days ago she had a knife pulled on her and this resulted in her sustaining a small cut to her abdomen. That matter was never reported to the police.
When Stabroek News visited the home yesterday, preparations were already in progress for the wake. At the time of her death the woman was living with her mother Kumarie Ferdinand called ‘Golin’ and her children, 14-year-old Alisa Koo and Loochand Mangal, 11.
Ferdinand was being consoled by the many friends and relatives who had gathered.
Arjune’s sister, Jayshree related to this newspaper that her sister left the home at 6 am yesterday and about ten minutes later they received word that she had been stabbed in Third Street several feet from the public road where she was heading to catch transportation.
She said that by the time they arrived at the hospital, she was already dead. She had been stabbed in the region of her heart and also had wounds to one of her wrists and her abdomen. Arjune was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Hospital where she had been taken by the police at 6:35 am.
According to the reports reaching the woman’s relatives, the suspect, who operates a minibus, parked the vehicle on the public road, a short distance from the street where the incident occurred, telling the conductor he was coming back.
He walked into the street and attacked the woman before she reached the public road.
Jayshree said that after committing the act, the man returned to the bus with the bloody knife in his hand and when questioned he attempted to attack the conductor who ran away and contacted the police at the Providence Police Station. Officers arrived within minutes.
According to the grieving woman, the bus was later found near the Demerara Harbour Bridge minus the suspect.
Jayshree told Stabroek News that during the years, they had been living together, the suspect would beat Arjune until “she was black and blue”, especially when he was under the influence of alcohol.
According to her, this was often as the man drank a lot. The beatings would take place anywhere.
She said that every time there was a problem the woman would move out but would eventually go back. The beatings would sometimes occur in front of the woman’s children.
Reports were never made to the police, she added.
Asked why the woman endured so much abuse and did not go to the authorities, Jayshree said that her sister did not want to worsen the situation or put her children in harm’s way. Whenever there were confrontations between her and the suspect, Jayshree said, Arjune would always try to be nice and talk her way out of the situation.
“Up to Sunday he pulled a knife pon she at the East Bank car park and she get a cut pon she belly,” the woman said shaking her head.
The woman told her relatives about the incident but not the police.
“No matter how we talk to her, she nah hear. She frighten the man,” Jayshree told this newspaper yesterday.
The woman also spoke of episodes where she witnessed the man throwing the belongings of her sister and children on the roadway. She told this newspaper that on one occasion, Arjune asked her to accompany her to the house to collect some money she had left behind. When they got there, she said, the suspect attacked them with a cutlass. They had to jump through a nearby window to escape, she said.
At the scene of the incident, several police officers were walking around in the rain looking for clues when they newspaper arrived. After a few minutes they left empty-handed. Police issued a press release yesterday on the incident, but did not say if a murder weapon had been found.
A pool of dried blood marked the spot where the woman had fallen.
Stabroek News spoke to a resident who lives nearby and she recalled being awakened by screams.
She said when she looked out she saw a woman lying at the side of the road but did not see anyone standing around or running away from the scene.
Several other persons living close by did not recall hearing anything.
Arjune’s death is the latest on a growing list of women who have been killed or maimed by their partners.
Last month 38-year-old Deborah Allen of Port Kaituma, North West District, was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital after being chopped by her reputed husband.
Her teenaged daughter was chopped across the face and spent several days in the Georgetown Hospital.
The two had an argument over a party they had gone to shortly before the incident.
The attacker subsequently turned himself over to the police. It is unclear if he has since been placed before the court.
That same day, two women were slashed to death in New Amsterdam. Their attacker is still being sought.