Several months after her reputed husband lashed her to the head a Cummings Lodge woman continued to live with him and early yesterday morning the man stabbed her from behind before setting their house ablaze.
Nanda Latchman, 37, is currently a patient in the Female Surgical Ward at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC). Latchman, speaking with this newspaper from her hospital bed, explained that she was stabbed under the left shoulder blade.
A lung, she said, was punctured as a result and the wound has caused internal bleeding. Some time around 1 am yesterday Latchman was sitting in her living room when her reputed husband, according to her, approached her from behind and plunged a knife into her back.
Hours before, Latchman said, her husband left with some relatives for a wedding house in the area. He returned home sometime after midnight, the woman recalled, and woke her up. Her reputed husband had been consuming alcohol.
“He went into the fridge and make some seasoned chicken fall on the floor,” Latchman recalled, “so I got out of bed and I went to clean it up…I told him that I clean the whole house and he should be more careful.”
It was this, Latchman said, which caused the man to start verbally abusing her. She subsequently returned to bed after cleaning up the mess in the kitchen but he followed her there and proceeded to hit her several times.
Latchman said she gave up all pretence of sleeping and went the living room to watch TV. Her husband, she reported, continued his tirade and even attempted to awaken their 15-year-old son.
“After I go out there and sit he come and put on a movie and I sat there watching it…I never even know this man went and get a knife until I feel the pain in my back,” she said.
Blood, Latchman said, began flowing swiftly from the wound and she immediately started to scream. Neighbours heard her cries and alerted a police patrol that was in the area at the time. After being wounded Latchman said she immediately rushed outside to the street.
Minutes later flames started to come from the rear of the house where the kitchen is located, Latchman related. She was later told that her husband set the fire using kerosene and matches from the kitchen and after the flames had started he jumped from their front verandah to get out of the building.
“They told me that the neighbours and so manage to put the fire out,” Latchman said.
Her reputed husband was taken into police custody shortly after he jumped from the verandah. He is currently at the Sparendaam Police Station and charges are expected to be laid against him shortly.
For the last 19 years, Latchman said, she has shared her life with the man. While still in her teenage years, she explained, she met him in her home village, Montrose. He lived in the same street and even at that early age he drank.
Five months after the birth of their only child, Latchman recalled, they moved to the Cummings Lodge address. Both she and her reputed husband worked hard to build their home. She is employed as a babysitter/domestic worker and her husband is a seaman.
“He used to drink on and off,” the woman said, “but about five or six years ago he started to drink more…when he isn’t drinking he is such a good person…when he gets sober he would tell me that he can’t remember the things he did when he was drunk.”
In the past the man has threatened to kill her, Latchman said. Last May after an argument, while he was under the influence of alcohol, the man hit her to the head. Latchman had pressed charges and an assault case is currently ongoing at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court. Despite this Latchman continued to share a house with her reputed husband.
“I was waiting for the matter to call again in court so I could tell the Magistrate all that this man does do to me…this time he is coming out of my life,” Latchman vowed.
The woman also expressed concern for her teenage son who she says attends one of the best high schools in the country. She is worried that the problems at home will affect his academic performance and is willing to change her life for his sake if not her own.
Latchman was also being counselled by members of her church while this newspaper was with her at GPHC.
When Stabroek News visited the Cummings Lodge home yesterday afternoon shattered glass could be seen on the floor. The wooden wall near Latchman’s kitchen was badly scorched. Residents, who requested anonymity, told this newspaper that for the last few years it was a normal occurrence for the man to be abusing Latchman.