Bridgette Gangadin’s cremation halted;Husband granted injunction for third autopsy

High Court judge Justice Rishi Persaud yesterday granted an ex-parte interim injunction to the husband of Bridgette Gangadin on the day of her funeral, resulting in an abrupt halt to her cremation and service that was a few minutes away from the final rites.

Bridgette’s husband, Dwarka Gangadin is seeking to have a third autopsy conducted and his approach to the court yesterday for an injunction was successful. The court, in granting the injunction, has ordered that another post mortem examination be conducted no later than tomorrow and it also requested that her body be returned to the funeral home. The court hearing comes up again tomorrow.

The woman’s body was already at the East Coast Demerara cremation site when the court order was served on her family. Faced with the order the family was forced to halt the cremation and return her body to the funeral home ahead of the autopsy. It was the latest in a series of events since Bridgette’s mangled body was discovered on the Vigilance public road last Sunday.

Bridgette Gangadin’s body about to make the journey to the Good Hope cremation site. In this Aubrey Crawford photo, relatives lift the covered box with her body to the waiting hearse.

Trinidadian pathologist Professor Hubert Daisley was hired by the woman’s relatives to conduct an independent examination and this newspaper had reported yesterday that Dr Daisley in the company of a lawyer and relatives of the woman had submitted a provisional report on his findings to ranks at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters, Eve Leary on Friday night. The report among other things said that the woman had been strangled. This report is said to have caused Bridgette’s husband to move to the High Court yesterday.

On the pathologist’s return to Trinidad he will send a complete report along with photographic evidence, this newspaper was told.

Attorney-at-law Basil Williams is representing the interest of Bridgette’s family. He told Stabroek News yesterday that the family has no objections to a third independent autopsy. However, he said the family was calling for the same procedures to be followed for the examination. He said the pathologist should come from overseas and be certified as well as granted a work permit before any examination was done. He noted that Professor Daisley, who is Trinidadian, had to be certified by the Ministry of Health and granted a work permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before he was allowed to work here.

Prior to the dramatic turn of events at the cremation site, a large number of mourners dressed in the traditional funeral colours had crowded the home to pay their final respects to the twenty-nine year old.

Notably absent from the service which was held at the Annandale, ECD home of Bridgette’s mother, were her husband Dwarka, his parents and her two sons.

Following a private religious ceremony for the relatives in the upper flat of the home, the body was placed under a shed in the yard.

Gangadin was dressed in a bright yellow sari and her body lay in a white box surrounded with flowers.

Confusion later erupted as persons pushed to get a glimpse of the woman.

After prayers, religious words and tributes in which she was described as a nice and loving person, the remains were taken to the Good Hope site for cremation.

On the way there, relatives who were sitting in an open-backed vehicle held up placards.

Gangadin’s mangled remains were discovered on the Vigilance Public Road, a short distance from the entrance of the police station, around 2.25 am last Sunday with “suspected marks of violence.” Police had initially said that they were treating the woman’s death as a murder.

According to the relatives, Bridgette, 29, and her husband Dwarka, 34, had left their Lusignan home the night before and travelled to Enterprise where they were expected to go shrimp-catching with some friends. However, the trip was aborted and the couple left and it was believed that they were heading home. About an hour later the husband returned to the Enterprise home without his wife and when questioned about her he did not answer. The police were contacted and he was arrested. Dwarka had reportedly told investigators that his wife jumped out of the truck and he accidentally ran over her head. Government pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh the following day conducted an autopsy concluding that it was crushing injuries to the head caused by a wheel and a fractured skull that had caused her death.

However, her relatives were adamant that he had killed her, and requested that an independent post mortem be done.

After spending three days in police custody, Dwarka was released on substantial station bail last Thursday evening. Less than 24 hours later, he appeared before Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus at the Vigilance Magistrates’ Court, charged with driving a motor vehicle on the road while his blood alcohol level exceeded the prescribed amount. Dwarka, a national grass-racing champion and upholsterer, denied the charge and was released on $10,000 bail. The case will be called again on June 25.

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