Mahaica man charged with fatal beating of neighbour

Forrester Gravesande, the Jonestown, Mahaica man accused of fatally beating his neighbour, was charged with his murder and remanded to prison last Thursday.

Gravesande, 47, of Lot 5 Jonestown, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara, was charged with murdering Courtney Porter on April 9.

He was not required to enter a plea to the indictable charge when he was arraigned at the Mahaica Magistrate’s Court and he was remanded to prison.

The matter was adjourned to May 9.

Porter, 49, a father of three, died on the afternoon of April 9, more than two weeks after he was allegedly beaten by the accused.

Dead: Courtney Porter

Following the incident, Gravesande 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. Gravesande subsequently fled and was captured by the police in ‘F’ Division on April 10.

At the hearing last Thursday, the attempted murder charge was withdrawn and a murder charge was instituted against Gravesande.

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, and he met Gravesande.

The woman said based on what she was told, Gravesande 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. But owing to the extent of his injuries, he was not speaking.

On the afternoon of April 9, 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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