Friend on murder charge

The man, who had been a friend of Hope’s family and lived with her, her mother Sherma Rajoon and her brother, will appear before a Chaguanas magistrate this morning.

His arrest comes four days after Hope went missing from her apartment home at Umesh Drive, Lime Head Road, Chaguanas on Saturday night. The suspect, who was detained early Sunday morning broke under police interrogation on Tuesday and led investigators to Hope’s body in a canefield late that evening.

Henderson consulted homicide detectives Insp Johnny Abraham, Insp Stanley Ramdeen and PC Sunil Ramoutar yesterday, after the suspect was transferred from the Freeport Police Station to the Arouca Police Station, the headquarters of the Homicide Bureau. He gave the investigators the nod to charge the suspect and this was done by PC Ramoutar shortly before 7 pm.

This development took place hours after pathologist Dr Hughvon Des Vignes performed an autopsy on Hope’s body at the Forensic Science Centre, St James. Des Vignes declared that Hope died from cranial blunt trauma and external and internal haemorrhage consistent with a slashed throat. An investigator said the autopsy also indicated that there were signs that Hope had been raped and buggered, and additional tissue and blood samples were taken for forensic tests.

The suspect’s truck which has been impounded at the centre is also to be processed by forensic experts. The suspect was last seen by neighbours with Hope in the truck on Saturday night.

The suspect’s mother yesterday told Newsday that she grieved for Hope and said she and her family had loved the little girl.

“We love Hope and we were very hurt when we heard what happened. She was a very pretty, loving and respectful child. She used to come by us and play in the yard. We loved having her and her mother around.”

The woman said she and her family could not explain why the suspect had killed Hope.

“We really don’t know. It is there out in the open that he carried the police and showed them where the body was. This news is very shocking and it is like a nightmare that we wished never happened.”

Another relative described the suspect as a “harden individual” and said he would get into fights and drank heavily when he was younger.

“He was the type of person if someone did him wrong, he would hide in the bushes and wait for them and then pounce on them. But that would only happen if someone do him something, other than that he was a very hard worker.”

Hope’s mother, father Ronald Arismandez, 58, and other relatives had a painful wait at the Forensic Science Centre for the results of the autopsy. Her mother, who suffers from high blood pressure, cried uncontrollably and became weak and had to be supported by relatives. After the autopsy, Rajoon, who covered her face with a wash rag, had to be helped to a vehicle by two relatives.

Later, at her home, Rajoon’s sister Sharon Wilkinson said the distraught mother had to rest and spoke on her behalf.

Wilkinson challenged claims that Rajoon was partly responsible for what happened to Hope.

“Sherma worked very hard and was very protective of Hope. She held two jobs and rented a place that is comfortable to her family. She knew that person that did this terrible thing to Hope and trusted him. But, he betrayed her trust,” said Wilkinson.

She defended her sister. “I think that people should mind their own business and stop throwing words. This is a very difficult time for us and we are trying very hard to deal with this tragedy.”


"Friend on murder charge"

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