Trinidad: Maid confesses she tried to kill employer

(Trinidad Express) A woman who was hired by a Champs Fleurs couple as a live-in housekeeper in 2007, has been sent to prison after she pleaded guilty to attempting to murder the father of the family by repeatedly stabbing him during a robbery at their home.

It was less than one month after Ria Frank was hired by the couple – Aston Kalloo and his wife Dr Anisa Gopaul-Kalloo – that she invited two men into the house to carry out the robbery that left Kalloo, a customs broker, nursing multiple stab wounds and a large slit down the centre of his stomach.

That attack took place on the night of February 13, 2007, when the couple returned home after visiting relatives earlier in the day.

The trial was to take place before Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain, but the accused opted to plead guilty to the three criminal offences as a way of saving judicial time in exchange for her receiving more lenient sentences.

Frank was charged with the offences of attempted murder, wounding with intent and robbery with aggravation.

On the first charge, she was sentenced to nine years and nine months in prison while on the other two, she was sentenced to seven years and one month and five years and nine months respectively.

All of the sentences are to run concurrently, meaning she will serve only the higher sentence of nine years and nine months before being released.

The State’s case was that on January 15, 2007, the couple hired the woman as a live-in house-keeper. On February 13, the couple and their three-year-old daughter spent the day away from home and returned late in the night.

After doing so, and while unpacking items from their vehicle, Frank approached Gopaul-Kalloo and told her she wanted to “show her something” in one of the bedrooms. As they entered the room Gopaul-Kalloo was ambushed by two men who were armed with knives.

She was hog-tied and her mouth stuffed with a rag. They then threatened to stab her if she screamed for help. All this time, her husband was still unpacking their vehicle and removing their sleeping daughter from the car.

It was at that point that Frank approached him and also informed him she also wanted to show him something in the bedroom. But Gopaul became suspicious, especially after calling him wife for assistance in unpacking the vehicle and receiving no response.

Nonetheless, he went to the bedroom and peeked in, spotting the men. He then ran out of the house and was chased by the men based on Frank’s instructions, but was not caught.

Kalloo returned to the bedroom seconds later with an object in his hand and a struggle ensued between him and Frank during which he was stabbed by her a total of eight times. His stomach area was also sliced resulting in his intestines being exposed.

Frank then fled the scene.

Despite his injuries, he proceeded to untie his wife who then transported him to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex for treatment.

Six days later, Frank was arrested but she never revealed the identities of the two men. Instead, she told police she did not plan the attack and that it was the men who threatened her life and the lives of her family members if she did not allow them into the house to carry out the robbery.

In passing sentence, Justice St Clair-Douglas said he was not convinced by what Frank had told investigators given all of the circumstances.

In spite of the sentences passed, the judge said he was of the view that the woman deserved more time behind bars given the heinousness of the crime and her breach of trust.

However, Justice St Clair-Douglas said he was bound by a previous maximum sentence indication that was given by another judge last year during a Goodyear Hearing.

A Goodyear Hearing allows the defence to request an indication from a judge as to what would be the maximum sentence would be should their client plead guilty to the crime for which they are charged.

During that hearing, the judge indicated that Frank would not serve more then ten years behind bars if she were to plead guilty.

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