Handyman gets four years for torching wife’s house

-to face additional charges for burning woman

Debra Mootoo

Handyman Prakash Ramdeo was yesterday sentenced to four years in jail after he admitted to setting his common-law wife’s Block 8 Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara house on fire.

However, Ramdeo, 49, was not charged over his alleged attack on Debra Mootoo, who was set on fire before the house was burned.

He was only charged yesterday with setting fire to the dwelling house, located at Lot 209 Block 8, Mon Repos, where he and Mootoo, a retired head teacher, resided.

He pleaded guilty to the offence when he appeared at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court before Magistrate Zamilla Ally-Seepaul, who handed down the sentence.

However, a police source yesterday explained that investigators only obtained a statement from Mootoo on Thursday. It was noted that additional charges are likely to be laid against Ramdeo.

The incident took place between Sunday evening and Monday morning and resulted in Mootoo, 58, sustaining second and third degree burns from her shoulders down.

Stabroek News had previously reported that Ramdeo, an alcoholic, allegedly set Mootoo and the house on fire after Mootoo refused to provide him with $500 to purchase alcohol.

Up to yesterday afternoon, the woman remained hospitalised in the Burn Care Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital, where she was initially admitted in a critical state. Her daughter, Marissa Persaud, told Stabroek News that her condition has since stabilised and she is expected to undergo surgery soon.

Persaud had previously related to this newspaper that based on what her mother told her, Ramdeo tied her up with a mosquito net before dousing her with kerosene and setting her alight after she refused to provide him with $500.

The fire quickly spread and engulfed the one-bedroom wooden house, which the couple had been sharing for the past eight years.

She had noted that Mootoo was rescued by alert residents and rushed to the hospital by a community pastor.

Persaud said Ramdeo was unemployed and relied on Mootoo to maintain him.


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