Kevin O’Neil denied clubbing Colleen Forrester to death with his co-accused Anthony De Paul Hope and Ralph Tyndall in his caution statement, but did admit to dumping her body in a septic tank at the house in William Street, Campbellville.
In his caution statement, which was admitted as evidence in the murder trial yesterday, O’Neil denied having anything to do with killing Forrester. He, Hope and Tyndall were jointly charged with the 2007 murder of Forrester, whose decaying body was found in the septic tank at Lot 55 William Street.
State witness Marlon Chalmers, who was second-in-charge of the police investigation into Forrester’s murder, read O’Neil’s statement in court yesterday.
According to the statement, O’Neil had gone to the C&S Club on Sheriff Street with Hope on the night of the Main Big Lime. When they returned to Lot 55 William Street, Campbellville, where Tyndall was inside the house, they saw Forrester and her granddaughter standing at the gate.
“Anthony aunty started to row with him for changing the padlocks on the gate,” O’Neil said in his statement, adding that Hope jumped over the gate to look for the keys.
When the keys were found, the gate was opened and all four of them entered the yard with Forrester arguing, O’Neil said, adding that they entered the house, with her still arguing, this time about the dirty wares in the kitchen. Nick (Tyndall) was hiding in the wardrobe, the statement said.
According to the statement, O’Neil told the police that Forrester then instructed him and her granddaughter to go downstairs and fetch water, but a while after he heard “blam blam” in one of the bedrooms in the house.
He stated that he ran upstairs and checked the room and saw “…Nick [Tyndall] on Anthony aunty choking her and lashing her with a baton.”
He stated that he ran down the steps to stop her granddaughter from going upstairs and when he returned to the room he saw blood dripping from Tyndall’s hands and Forrester lying on the ground, bleeding.
“Anthony aunty been pon the ground jumping up like when people catch fits, then she stay still,” O’Neil said in the statement.
He said Hope and Tyndall cleaned up the room, after shoving Forrester into the wardrobe and turning it around to face the wall. He said Anthony then sent him and the girl to a shop to buy cigarettes. “Anthony said if anyone ask we gon say she [Forrester] gone Trinidad,” he said in the statement.
The next night, he stated, they wrapped her body in a cloth and dumped her in the septic tank.
“All I do is help carry down the body to the septic tank. When people ask me about she I does tell them ask Anthony,” the statement quoted him as saying.
Defence attorney Melvin Duke, who is representing Hope, argued that Chalmers “rushed to judge” his client and the other two accused instead of “properly” investigating whether Forrester’s murder was one of domestic violence.
“No sir,” Chalmers responded, stating that they did not consider the theory of domestic violence.
Duke then argued that the police did not allow any lawyers to be present when the statement was taken from O’Neil. “They never requested any,” Chalmers returned quickly.
In his caution statement, Hope had also indicated that it was Tyndall who murdered his aunt. His statement meshed with O’Neil’s in that he was downstairs with Forrester’s granddaughter when the murder was committed.
This was also in line with the evidence given by the granddaughter, Nikita Semple, who had told the court last week that she was downstairs getting water with O’Neil when she heard a scream from upstairs and found herself locked out of the house.
Tyndall’s version of the events varied. He stated in his caution statement that it was Hope who killed the woman and then dumped her body in the septic tank with O’Neil’s help.
Government Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh, who presented an autopsy report earlier in the trial, had related that the woman died from a subdural brain haemorrhage as a result of blunt trauma. He explained that even though Forrester’s body had the stench of faeces, no trace was found in her body which would indicate that she died before being stuffed in the septic tank.
Additionally, the body bore several marks of violence, including a laceration to the top left side of the head and teeth marks on her tongue, the latter of which is indicative of somebody being forced to bite down on their tongue.
Apart from that, there was also bleeding beneath the skin of the skull and the muscles of the neck which may have been as a result of compression or strangulation.
He also explained that considerable damage was done to the woman’s larynx which could have been as a result of pressure being applied by the attacker(s) in attempts to possibly restrict her from screaming or using her voice.
When the trial continues today, the state is expected to call its final witness.