Family suspects foul play in death of prisoner

-seeking answers from autopsy

The family of Camp Street prisoner Brian Blount, who was found hanging in his cell on Sunday night, believes that there was foul play in his death.

A distraught Norman Blount told Stabroek News yesterday that he spoke with his son hours before his death and he gave no indication of wanting to take his own life. The man insisted that his son was not suicidal and that he was anxiously awaiting the start of the preliminary inquiry into the murder charge against him, which was slated for August 27.

Despite promises, there is still no statement from Prison Headquarters or the Ministry of Home Affairs about the circumstances surrounding the death. The police had said that the 26-year-old man was found hanging in his cell around 11:10pm.

Speaking to Stabroek News from Linden, the distraught father said, “I don’t believe that he took his own life.” He said that he was told that when Brian was found, he was in a kneeling position, which raised questions about how he would have been able to hang himself from such a position.

The man expressed concern at reports that his son may have been beaten to death at the prison and that the hanging was staged to make it look like a suicide and he and other relatives are hoping that today’s post-mortem examination will provide them with answers.

Norman said that all his family was told was that the young man hanged himself. “He wasn’t suicidal,” the man stressed. He said that his son was anxious for the preliminary inquiry to start, while noting that it was delayed because the lawyer was absent on two occasions owing to work he had to do in the High Court.

Norman said that after receiving news of his son’s death, he traveled to Georgetown but when he arrived at the morgue it was too late for him to see the body.

Meanwhile, Brian’s uncle, Kenneth Blount, said family members are at a loss as to what they should do to get their many questions answered.

He said that the prison officer they spoke with did not give details as to how exactly Brian died. The man said that the officer told him that when he was returned to the prison following his court appearance in Linden last Tuesday, Brian was found with marijuana in his possession. The man said that based on what the officer told him, his son apologised for his actions. “We have been getting conflicting reports about what really happened,” he said, while adding that when they went to the Alberttown Police Station, a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) rank told them that prison officials found him in a kneeling position. “What he is suggesting is impossible. It is impossible to find someone in a kneeling position,” he said, while adding that based on what he was told the towel that was around Blount’s neck was not attached to anything when he was found.

On Saturday, Blount of Coomaka Mines, Linden was on the roof professing his innocence of a murder charged. He was accused of murdering Ernest Persaud, between March 10 and 12 and throwing his body into the Demerara River.

He had fled after he heard that the police were looking for him. He was arrested in February and placed before the court a few days later.

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