Limlair farmer kills wife, attempts suicide

-cops didn’t take woman’s reports seriously, deceased’s mother says

Tovonie Simmons and Imran Lyte

A Limlair Village, Corentyne farmer murdered his estranged common-law wife on Wednesday evening, when he stabbed her several times about her body and then slit her throat, after which he tried to end his own life.

Tovonie Alexce Simmons, also known as ‘Vanie,’ 28, of Lot 10 Limlair Village, Corentyne, was stabbed 12 times, including to her neck, her chest and her back by Imran Lyte, also known as ‘Jabar,’ 30, who subsequently fled to the backlands of neighbouring Nurney Village. His relatives later rushed him to the Port Mourant Hospital, after he was suspected to have consumed a poisonous substance.

Lyte is presently admitted as a patient under guard at the New Amsterdam Public Hospital.

According to Simmons’ mother, Jacqueline Henry, although the couple separated late last year and Lyte had moved in with a next door neighbour since last December, they still had regular arguments, during which he would threaten her.

“He say he move on with he life and still when she walk on the road he a molest she. One time, he come back and break up she phone. She go the station and report, the thing prolong, he start threaten, he say she friends them a trouble the girl,” the woman related.

Henry told Stabroek News that around 8.30 pm on Wednesday, Lyte’s sister brought him to Simmons’ house to settle their differences “once and for all.” “Them two [Simmons and Lyte] sit a corner deh a talk and me sit here with the sister and couple minutes after he grabble she [Simmons] and he start juk she and she scream and jump pon me on da chair and me get up fa block he and he fire at me and she run out [to] veranda and [a boy] went on there and he hold [Lyte], me take a chair and brace he, and she jump over,” she recounted. “…And me say, ‘Run! Run!’ And he sister hollering, ‘Run! Run!’”

Henry said Lyte got even more enraged ran down the stairs and in the direction that Simmons had gone. “And he catch she and he slit she throat,” the devastated mother added. 

Simmons was picked up and rushed to the Port Mourant Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

The couple, who had been together for over nine years before separating, shared four children, who are between the ages of three and eight.

Henry yesterday said that the fatal attack was preceded by a bid that Lyte made to harm Simmons on Sunday, when he ended up stabbing her brother three times. The dead woman’s family suggested that had the police arrested Lyte after the attack, Simmons’ murder could have been prevented.

Errol, 22, the brother of the deceased, explained that he would usually visit his sister every afternoon for dinner. However, he said while en route to her home on Sunday, Lyte attacked him. “When me coming me see people on the road, and then he come and lash me off me bicycle and bore me,” he recounted. “Police went on the road and them carry me hospital and carry me home back. The police them looking for he and them saying them nah find he and he deh right in the house,” he noted.

Henry added that Lyte attacked Simmons before attacking her brother. “When she pass [on Sunday], he [Lyte] start cuss and she knock he—one kick and push he way—and run for help. She go by he cousin and them lock she inside the house and he [Lyte] bruk up one set a thing a them people house,” she said.

Henry further voiced her dissatisfaction with the response of ranks at the Whim Police Station, who seemed not to care that her daughter was in need of their help, which could have possibly saved her life.

On Sunday last, Simmons and her brother filed a report against Lyte and the woman reportedly begged ranks to intervene. “She make reports plenty times about the threats. When them send police, them a come [and ask] ‘Imran there?’ And he deh right inside the house and them gone, them nah go in,” the angry mother noted.

Relatives described Simmons as a hardworking mother, who ensured that her children were well taken care of.

Henry added that Lyte had been a “quiet” person before separating from her daughter. “He was quiet. I never see him get so angry. They use to have lil teeth and tongue but he never really knock her [during their marriage],” she explained.

For many years, the police have been accused by numerous residents and organisations of not taking serious action when complaints are made at police stations about domestic abuse. Some complainants have ended up dying at the hands of the people they lodged complaints against. Government ministers and officials over the years have repeatedly said that this matter will be addressed.

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