Investigator in Sanasie murder reports exhibits missing

Patricia Sanasie

The trial of Richard Stanton, who is accused of murdering Patricia Sanasie in 2015, continued yesterday with the testimony of Detective Constable Samuel Headley, who conducted the initial investigation into the crime.

It is alleged that Stanton, of Lot 53 Princes Street, Lodge, killed Sanasie, 45, on January 12th, 2015.

Yesterday’s questioning revealed that exhibits lodged by Headley at the Sparendaam Police Station after he gave evidence at the Magistrate’s Court have been misplaced. The exhibits, this newspaper understands, include the ballistics report and two warheads removed from Sanasie’s body during the post-mortem exam.

Richard Stanton

In his evidence-in-chief, Headley, who was then stationed at the Sparendaam Police Station, testified that he had gone to the scene with a team of police on the evening of January 12th, 2015, when the shooting occurred.

At the scene, he recalled observing a pool of blood, containing what appeared to be a warhead and a pair of slippers.

He reported that the area was brightly lit from light from the lantern posts, as well as from the exterior lights of the properties opposite and obliquely opposite. He estimated that the closest post was located about 13 feet away, and was able to project light a distance of approximately 20 feet.

The witness indicated that he had contacted a Constable Pedro, who came to process the crime scene and take photos. He stated that Pedro found two metal objects which appeared to be warheads. He did not state what became of those warheads.

Headley further testified that he questioned persons at the scene and at around 7.45 pm he proceeded to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where he learnt that Sanasie had been pronounced dead on arrival.

He said he made contact with her daughter and questioned her. The daughter, Romona, testified last week via Skype that she had witnessed her mother’s shooting.

Headley said that based on what Romona told him, he reported to the Officer-in-Charge, Assistant Superintendent of Police Grant, who gave him instructions which led to Romona being escorted back to the scene, where she was further interviewed by Grant in Headley’s presence.

Headley said that while there he also conducted further interviews.

The witness related that those at the scene provided him with useful information. Later, when asked by the prosecutor why he had not taken statements from the others, he indicated that two of them were fearful and the other was a child, whose parents were not keen on him going on record.

Two days after the shooting, June 14, the post-mortem examination was conducted by Dr Nehaul Singh, and the cause of death was given as multiple gunshot injuries. During the autopsy, two warheads were reportedly removed from Sanasie’s body.

Headley related that the original autopsy report was lodged at the Sparendaam Police Station on February 10th, while a copy was placed in the investigation file.

The warheads, he said, were later examined by Sergeant Eon Jackson, and on January 26th, retrieved, along with the ballistics report, and lodged at the Sparendaam Police Station.

Headley related that the last time he had them in his possession was when he testified at the preliminary inquiry into the charge in January 2016, following which they were again lodged.

He said that last Monday he went to retrieve them, but was told by the current station sergeant that the exhibits could not be located. Headley stated that the following day, he returned and did physical checks himself, searching the general property room, but to no avail.

Asked about the last time he saw the autopsy report, he related that it was also when he gave evidence in January, 2016. However, he noted that the original document had been left in the possession of the court. Headley identified that document yesterday.

The witness was also questioned as to why he had not retrieved the metal object he saw in the pool of blood, which he believed to be a warhead. Headley explained that he is not a crime scene rank and so has not been trained in that capacity. Furthermore, he noted that the scene had to be photographed before the item was removed.

He later revealed that Corporal Pedro, who he related was called to the scene to process it and take photos, to his knowledge, is no longer a member of the Guyana Police Force.

The witness had related that based on instructions, the matter was eventually handed over to the Major Crimes Unit and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters after it became publicised.

He said that the officer-in-charge of the CID would usually keep crime files.

The matter continues this morning, when Headley will be recalled for cross-examination.

Stanton is being represented by attorney Mark Waldron, who is appearing in association with Keoma Griffith, while the case is being prosecuted by state prosecutors Tiffini Lyken, Narissa Leander and Seeta Bishundial.

Headley was led in evidence by prosecutor Lyken.

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