A 39-year-old mother of four was last Friday found with her throat slit at her Number 48 Village, Corentyne home and police have since detained her reputed husband.
Dead is Hansranie Sewdat. Her lifeless body was discovered by her nine-year-old daughter. Given the extent of the injury, the house was almost spotless and there were no signs of a struggle or that she had been the victim of a violent robbery, this newspaper was told.
Police said in a press release yesterday that they are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Sewdat whose body was found at about 16:30 hrs on the floor of her home with a wound to her throat. The body is at the Skeldon Hospital Mortuary awaiting a post-mortem examination.
Stabroek News had been reliably informed that Sewdat’s reputed husband, said to be in his 70s, was arrested at the scene by investigators after he could not properly account for his whereabouts for approximately three hours. The suspect is a rice farmer who owns many acres of rice fields in the Number 46 backdam and Black Bush Polder.
The woman’s sudden death has left her relatives in shock. Her only brother Mukerjee Mohanlall called `Buddy’ recalled that after he received the devastating news he drove from his Black Bush Polder home to his sister’s residence. He said when he arrived the police had already cordoned off the area and refused to allow him entry. He said he later saw ranks coming out of the house with a “long knife” which the police refused to identify as the murder weapon.
Mohanlall told Stabroek News that his nephew who had arrived earlier and managed to get a glimpse of the body, recounted to him that what appeared to be a pair of women’s tights was wrapped around her neck which had a cut “straight across”.
Sewdat’s body he explained was found in front of a glass door that leads to a veranda.
He said that his sister’s clothing was undisturbed and bore no evidence that she was in a struggle which was strange taking into account the nature of her death. “This killer committed a clean murder. He covered his tracks well… like de killer change she clothes and clean up the place,” he mused. The man said his sister’s clothing was not ripped pointing out that she would have fought for her life.
He said too that based on the accounts of the nephew there were no blood splatters on the wall and only a small amount of blood had accumulated from the wound. “If yuh neck cut blood got to spray because is ah fresh cut and dah blood hot. Nothing ain’t been pon de wall nothing,” he said.
According to Mohanlall, the rooms of the house were not tumbled and everything appeared to be in order. “There is nothing there that suggests that is a robbery,” he said.
Based on the information received from the grief-stricken man, neighbours also did not hear any strange sounds, in the hours leading up to the discovery. Mohanlall explained to Stabroek News that the couple and the nine-year-old child lived in a very large house. Sewdat had three adult children from a previous union.
According to Mohanlall, the houses on either side of his sister’s property are abandoned. The closest neighbour, he said, lives opposite.
The man told this newspaper that the house is situated on a large piece of land and before one actually gets to the house one first has to pass a big shed under which rice farming machinery are stored.
“It gon hard fuh people hear she scream. Dat house so big she can’t clean it by she self and it seal up,” he explained.
He said that based on what he has heard, he believed the murder was committed hours before the discovery, surmising that the killer would have taken some time to clean up.
Missing for hours
He said the reputed husband, according to his workers, was missing for several hours. He explained that the couple’s daughter had school sports last Friday, but opted not to attend. The suspect, he said, then decided to take the child with him early that morning to sell paddy at a Number 35 Village rice mill.
Mohanlall said that after selling the paddy, the two went to Number 46 Village to pick up some workmen to work in the rice fields located in the backdam. He said that according to one of the workmen, the suspect left saying that he had received a telephone call that one of his combines had broken down and he was going to see if he could fix it.
The child was left with the workmen, according to Mohanlall, and they reported that the suspect returned some time between noon and 1 pm. He stressed that at least three hours had elapsed. He said he was told that the suspect took food for the child to eat and a little while later they left.
However, the suspect did not go home, instead he drove to Black Bush Polder where he also has rice fields. Mohanlall said he had even spoken to some of his (Mohanlall’s) relatives while in the area. He was last seen in that area around 4 pm.
Mohanlall said that when they arrived home, the child went into the house while her father parked the vehicle. When the child went upstairs, he said, she made the gruesome discovery and immediately alerted her father who called relatives and neighbours.
Mohanlall informed this newspaper that the couple had been living together for 13 years and had been having domestic problems, which were being fuelled by the suspect’s dishonesty. According to Mohanlall, the suspect often lied about how much money he made from the rice crops and “he nah give she money to run the house”. The man claimed that even though the house was large, it didn’t have proper furniture and was lacking some basic items. He claimed the suspect was not contributing to the upkeep of the house.
He said this situation had been ongoing for the past four years and Sewdat had said that she was thinking of leaving him.
He explained that the suspect was married before and has children living abroad. He said his sister’s first husband – the father of her adult children – used to work for the suspect. His sister and the suspect became friendly, Mohanlall said, adding that Sewdat and her husband later separated as a result of that.
After they began having the problems, he said, the suspect refused to keep the maid, to help Sewdat look after the house and “she start fuh get stress out”.
He recalled seeing her about three weeks ago at a funeral and “she look like she had problems but she nah talk”.
Mohanlall told this newspaper that things got even worse when the suspect started threatening his sister. He could not say if the woman had reported the threats to the police.
“Yuh know I told my sister to leave him. She [was] a good girl and good looking,” he said.
Sewdat also leaves to mourn seven sisters.