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Sunday 25 March 2018

Woman, 74, murdered

JANICE HEATH, 74, was one of two women murdered yesterday. Patrina Salandy, 39, was gunned down around noon at St Paul Street, East Dry River, while in the company of her four children, including a five-month-old baby girl.

Cpl De Verteuil of the St James Police Station told Newsday that Heath, a mother of two, was stabbed twice in her neck. Her body was discovered by her son Neil Heath, who said he last spoke to his mother at about 7.30 pm on Saturday.

He was alerted that something was awry when members of his mother’s church contacted him when she missed service yesterday.

“It was her normal routine to attend church at 9 am on a Sunday. She was a Jehovah’s Witness and attended church every Sunday. When her friends did not see her at service they tried calling her at home, but got no response. They went to the house and after calling saw that the side door was open.

“When they pushed the door open they saw blood on the floor and they called me. That was around 11.30 am. When I got there I found my mother on the floor in a bedroom in the house, it was not her bedroom,” Neil told Newsday, as friends, relatives and neighbours gathered outside the woman’s house at Delhi Street, St James. They were all in a state of disbelief.

Heath, a retired principal of the Four Roads Government School, lived alone after her husband died last year, but her son Neil, said he always kept in contact with her. Asked what his initial reaction was, Neil said it was the same as with any other person who went through a tragedy as horrific as this.

“I was aggrieved, angry...there are no other words to describe this,” he said as he stood on the opposite side of the street while awaiting Crime Scene Investigators to complete their work.

Supt Forde from the St James Police Station is spearheading investigations.

His mind in a turmoil even though he was trying to come to terms with his mother’s murder, Neil said he had not told his children about their grandmother’s demise. “And please don’t say anything until I tell them,” he pleaded,

One neighbour at the scene, who declined to give his name, said the area was relatively safe, but crime is definitely encroaching.

“Crime is starting to affect everybody, every area. Something definitely needs to be done. It has to start from the home, with the parents, especially the fathers to be more attentive, more responsible in their children’s lives,” the resident said.

The neighbour said it was a sad time in the country when parents had to be burying their children.

“I hope the government, whichever Government, does something about it. It is ridiculous what is happening in this country,” he said.

He noted there was an abandoned building next to Heath’s home. “There is an abandoned place there, they can jump over the wall and get inside to the house. I told the owner that there is a space in the burglar proofing to fix it. The last thing he told me he was going to sell,” he said

De Verteuil said there were no forced entries on the side door leading into the house.

He also said that it did not look like it was someone that she knew,

“Sometimes people open doors and you would not see any signs of break ins. Somebody might knock on your door and say they are from a utility company and that happens a lot...it is possible that somebody was watching her,” De Verteuil said.

The murder toll stood at 206 up to yesterday.


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