Cops nab suspect in fatal Mahaica beating

Quick action by the police has led to the arrest of the suspect in the murder of Courtney Porter, the miner who was fatally beaten at Mahaica, East Coast Demerara.

‘F’ Division Commander Ravindradat Budhram told Stabroek News that the suspect, Forrester Gravesande, was arrested on Monday evening at Aranka Backdam. He was handed over to the police in ‘C’ Division, who are investigating the murder.

Porter, 49, a father of three of Lot 5 Jonestown, Mahaica, died on Sunday afternoon, more than two weeks after he was allegedly beaten by the suspect, who is his neighbour.

Dead: Courtney Porter

Gravesande, 47, of Lot 6 Jonestown, Mahaica, was arrested and charged with attempted murder on March 30. He appeared before Magistrate Wanda Fortune at the Mahaica Magistrate’s Court and was initially remanded to prison. However, he was subsequently placed on $200,000 bail, although the court was told at that time that Porter was still hospitalised. He subsequently fled.

The dead man’s wife, Odette Porter, had told Stabroek News that her husband had left home on the evening of March 25 to attend a wake. On his way to the wake, she said, he stopped to visit his mother, who lives further down his street, when he met the suspect.

The woman said based on what she was told, the suspect accused her husband of pulling at his wife’s clothes and reportedly dealt him several lashes to his head with a piece of wood.

Porter’s niece and sister, who were in the vicinity, pleaded in vain with the suspect to stop.

After Porter collapsed, he was transported to the hospital, where he was admitted until his discharge last Tuesday. But owing to the extent of his injuries, he was not speaking.

On Sunday afternoon, Porter complained of feeling unwell and was taken to the Mahaicony Hospital, where he died while receiving medical attention. “He started to complain about pain and we rub him down, but he start to panic for breath and we call a car and took him to the hospital where he died,” Odette explained.

A post-mortem examination revealed that he died as a result of a fractured skull and neck and trauma to the brain.

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